The Voice of Jupiter Hammon

What do Jupiter Hammon’s writings tell us about him as an educated individual surviving within the structure of enslavement?

Born into slavery on Long Island and educated alongside his future enslaver, Jupiter Hammon (1711–ca. 1806) endured the American Revolution and witnessed the founding of a new nation. Through an analysis of Hammon’s own words, this virtual roundtable explored how Hammon’s religious beliefs influenced his thoughts about freedom and equality; writing and the exchange of ideas as an act of resistance; and the importance of Jupiter’s works to understanding American history and literature.

A recording of the September 19, 2020 roundtable webinar is provided below.

The Jupiter Hammon Project is a major initiative and multi-year effort of Preservation Long Island. The goal of the project is to develop a new and equitable interpretation for Joseph Lloyd Manor, an 18th-century historic house museum and a site of Black enslavement on Long Island. This new interpretation will include telling the story of Jupiter Hammon (1711– ca.1806), one of the earliest published African American writers, who composed his most well-known works while enslaved at the house. 



Our program co-host for this roundtable was the Suffolk County Historical Society. Founded in 1886, the mission of The Suffolk County Historical Society is to collect, preserve and interpret the ongoing history of Suffolk County, NY and its people. 


Expert Panelists

Jesse Erickson, PhD, Assistant Professor and Senior Assistant Librarian, University of Delaware. He is a bibliographer and researcher in the study of special collections, print culture, and book history. His primary research interests include ethnobibliography, African American publishing and printing, and American Ouidiana. WATCH our Getting to Know the Panelists interview with Professor Erickson. 


Malik Work, the NYC based actor-teacher-writer-emcee is a founding member of the groundbreaking jazz/hip hop conglomerate: The Real Live Show. He teaches acting, creative writing, Shakespeare, theater arts, hip hop, and hip hop theater, locally and internationally. His show has most recently been featured at Park Avenue Armory and Nublu in NYC, as well as the National Arts Festival in Makhanda, South Africa. WATCH our Getting to Know the Panelists interview with Malik Work.


Phillip M. Richards, PhD, Professor of English (emeritus), Colgate University. He is a specialist in Colonial, Antebellum, and African American literature. He has published widely on the first Black writers of the late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Anglo-Atlantic worlds. His articles on Jupiter Hammon, Phillis Wheatley, and Olaudah Equiano have appeared in American Quarterly, Early American Literature, and The Journal of the Early American Republic. WATCH our Getting to Know the Panelists interview with Professor Richards. 

Explore some of the fascinating people and places in Jupiter Hammon’s world with our interactive story map (click on the image below):