Jupiter Hammon Biography

Jupiter Hammon

Born: 1711
Birthplace: Oyster Bay, New York

The first known African American to publish literature, Hammon was a lifelong slave of the Lloyd family on Long Island. He was a favorite servant who was a clerk in the family business, a farmhand, and an artisan. Hammon was allowed to attend school and was a fervent Christian, as were the Lloyds. His first published poem was written on Christmas Day, 1760. An Evening Thought. Salvation by Christ with Penitential Cries: Composed by Jupiter Hammon, a Negro belonging to Mr. Lloyd of Queen's Village, on Long Island, the 25th of December, 1760 appeared as a broadside in 1761. Three other poems and three sermon essays followed. In 1786 Hammon gave a speech, An Address to the Negroes of New York, to the African Society, in which he said that while he personally had no wish to be free, he did wish others, especially “the young Negroes, were free.”

Died: 1806

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