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, 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, presented in partnership with the Suffolk County Historical Society, explored Hammon’s views on freedom and religion; writing as resistance; and the importance of Hammon’s works to understanding American history and literature.


Program Moderator

Cordell Reaves serves as the Historic Preservation and Interpretation Analyst with the NY State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, developing educational programming and events that enable sites to tell complete and inclusive stories. His research interests cover a broad swath of New York State history, including colonial slavery, the Underground Railroad, the anti-slavery movement, and the Great Migration.

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.


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.

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. 

The Jupiter Hammon Project is a major initiative and multi-year effort of Preservation Long Island. The goal of the project is to work closely with community partners and stakeholders to develop a more equitable interpretive direction for the 18th-century Joseph Lloyd Manor that encourages rigorous and relevant encounters with the story of Jupiter Hammon (1711– ca.1806), one of the earliest published African American writers, and the region’s history of enslavement.