Horton, George Moses

Horton, George Moses, c.1797–c.1883, African-American writer, b. near Raleigh, N.C. Born into slavery, he worked as a handyman at the Univ. of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, where he began writing and selling love poems in the form of acrostics to students. Eventually he published “On Liberty and Slavery” and other more serious poems in newspapers, and became the first African American in the South to publish a book, The Hope of Liberty (1829), republished as Poems by a Slave (1837). Other collections of his poems are The Poetical Works of George M. Horton (1845) and Naked Genius (1865). His essay Individual Influence (1855–56) was discovered in 2015 among the papers of Henry Harrisse, a 19th-century lawyer and bibliographer.

See J. Sherman, ed., The Black Bard of North Carolina (1997).

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