“Ode to Liberty”
Horton, George Moses, 1798?-approximately 1880; African-Americans-North Carolina-Poetry; Slavery-North Carolina-Poetry; Slaves- North Carolina Poetry
George Moses Horton was born into slavery on William Horton’s North Carolina tobacco plantation circa 1797. As a young man, he taught himself to read and developed a life-long interest in poetry. Around 1815 he began composing poems in his head, speaking them aloud at the weekly Chapel Hill, NC farmers market. As his fame spread, he gained attention in the literary world and the young poet’s first publishing efforts were included in a Massachusetts newspaper, the Lancaster Gazette. Horton published his first collection of poetry, The Hope of Liberty in 1829 and became the first African American man to publish a book in the South—and one of the first to publicly protest his enslavement in poetry. Horton’s haunting poem, “Ode to Liberty,” which appeared in an 1843 issue of The Southern Messenger, is featured in this image.
George Moses Horton
Rare Book Collection, Department of Archives & Special Collections, The University of Mississippi Libraries
The Southern Literary Messenger, Volume IX
The University of Mississippi Libraries
No Copyright - United States; http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/NoC-US/1.0/