African American Women's Poetry in the Christian Recorder, 1855-1865: A Bio-Bibliography with Sample Poems

By Gardner, Eric | African American Review, Winter 2006 | Go to article overview

African American Women's Poetry in the Christian Recorder, 1855-1865: A Bio-Bibliography with Sample Poems

Gardner, Eric, African American Review

While the work of several early African American women poets who published book-length collections has been recovered by literary historians (Joan Sherman pre-eminent among them), many pre-20th-century Black women who published occasional poetry in periodicals remain ignored or simply unknown. If Frances Smith Foster's crucial discovery of the serialized novels of Frances Ellen Watkins Harper did not already do so, Mitch Kachun's stunning identification of Julia C. Collins's serialized Christian Recorder novel The Curse of Caste (1865) should push us beyond the covers of physical books in our search for a fuller sense of early Black women's writing and so cause us to question our assumptions about early African American literary culture. Because, as scholars like Foster and Kachun have shown, Black-operated periodicals often offered key conduits between Black authors and Black readers--and sometimes even encouraged those readers to become writers themselves--a full-scale canvassing, cataloging, and analysis of literary work in early Black periodicals that is both more accessible and more integrated into our research and classrooms than the Black Periodical Literature Project remains desperately needed.

This study offers a small piece of such bibliographical and historical research: it introduces 35 Black women who published poetry in the Christian Recorder between 1855 and 1865, a decade that culminated in the Recorder's publication of Collins's novel (and, more broadly, the conclusion of the Civil War). Specifically, it provides a set of sample poems from this group, basic biographical data on 26 Recorder poets who were African American women, and more limited information on nine others who published poems in the Recorder and who either self-identified as or probably were African American. Three of these 35--Harper, Mary Ann Shadd Cary, and Susan Paul Vashon--were well-known activists. The others--most of whom published only a poem or two in the Recorder (and a few of whom wrote in groups to create single published poems)--represent what might have been a larger group of antebellum African American women who wrote occasionally, used literature to help themselves through daily life, did not aspire to professional poethood, and have been almost totally ignored in our history.

Notable patterns emerge from what we know of these women's lives. Almost all, it seems, were active readers of the Christian Recorder; some even donated to the Recorder's on-going fundraising campaigns in the post-war period. This involvement, of course, marks their ties to the AME Church, but it also speaks to their geographical location, their class status, and their education. Their residences--mostly in Pennsylvania (especially Philadelphia) and New Jersey, but also in areas like Buffalo, New York, where sometime-Recorder writer and AME stalwart Daniel Payne was active--give us a sense of the regional circulation of the Recorder. Most were clearly of the middling classes: their fathers and spouses were often professionals and/or shop owners (a minister, a grocer, barbers, shoemakers, a baker, a whitewasher, and so on). Many of the women worked outside of their homes--generally as domestics, laundresses, and dressmakers--in part because of the fragility of the Black middle class in the ante-bellum North. At least one, Esther Palmer, owned her own trimmings business. At least three--Vashon, Sarah Daffin, and Estellena Johnson--were teachers; Daffin made important contributions as one of the early Black teachers of freedpeople. Daffin and Johnson came to teaching through shared learning: both were graduates of Philadelphia's Institute for Colored Youth. Cary and Harper, of course, were active as writers and speakers; Cary also did important editorial work. Daffin and Lizzie Hart also wrote fairly extensively--in the form of letters to the Recorder. Four others--Daffin, Ellen Johnson, Estellena Johnson, and Angeline Demby--left a record of public lectures or readings. At least two, Ellen Johnson and H. Martha Johnson, were affiliated with a local literary society. All were, of course, highly literate; even the verse that might seem exceedingly conventional--perhaps even contrived--to contemporary readers demonstrates a clear sense of trends in American and British poetry in terms of metrics, rhyme, tone, and content.

Connections such as these--as well as the Recorder's function as the main AME organ of the period--suggest that these women were already part of a community. Some clearly knew each other; in addition to their shared time at the Institute, for example, the bond between Johnson and Daffin was strong enough that Johnson and her pupils raised money to help support Daffin's work educating newly freed slaves in Virginia. But the larger community that these women shared went beyond demographics and personal relationships; it centered on arguing for radical change in the (white) public sphere's conception of Black personhood, racial uplift through education and religion, and the centrality of textual production to those processes. Indeed, as poet Hester A. B. Jay wrote in a letter to the editor of the Recorder published in the November 22, 1862 issue, these writers demonstrated that "our people, who, for many years, have been ground down to the earth by the iron heel of affliction," should not be "ashamed nor afraid to come up and let their enemies know that they are a people that are not brutes; but men and women, possessing intellects as well as themselves." Jay's letter, which opens with the sharing of her discovery of the Recorder (told in the language of an epiphany), implicitly suggested that texts were the central tool in letting those "enemies" know--and in reminding friends--of the powers of Black minds and hearts.

All of the sample poems included below--and, I would argue all of the poems by Black women that were published in the Recorder--speak to Jay's argument. In part because most of these poets seem to have published only occasionally, many of the poems are consonant in tone, tropes, and approaches with the sentimental and didactic poems by mid-19th-century white poets (for example, Lydia Sigourney); many also center on key events in domestic life. Still the examples I have selected demonstrate both the range of approaches and the generic spectrum of early Black women's poetry in the Christian Recorder. Thus, Hannah Myers's touching elegy to her daughter Lilia and Emma Tates's poem on her brother's death (both illustrative of the massive number of elegies among these poems) are presented not only next to Ellen Nixon's striking untitled poem and Belle Goode's "The Anxious Young Pious Mother"--which center on questions of faith and gendered power in settings common to domestic fiction--but also next to less-common poems that are more overtly political in a different "domestic" sense: Ellen Malvin's striking slave narrative "Mistress and Slave," Angeline R. Demby's elegy to Abraham Lincoln, and Cary's "The Last Words of Peter Poyas," a powerful invocation of the Denmark Vesey rebellion and a race-centered call-to-arms.

All of the poets here seem to have drawn--either explicitly (as in the elegies) or implicitly (as in the philosophy embodied in Cary's poem)--on their own life experiences as a content-base for their public acts of publishing poems. Consequently, the sample poems are followed by a full bio-bibliography that lists and categorizes individual poems and offers biographical data on individual poets. One hopes that this material will aid researchers in considering these poets and their poems in more depth.

Such future work should certainly include further delineation of this community of Black women poets and comparison of their work with the broader spectrum of the period's poetry. Their absence in our study to date suggests, for example, that Mary Loeffelholz (noting work not only by Sherman, but also by Janet Gray and Paula Bernat Bennett) is perhaps too quick when she refers to 19th-century women's poetry as a "now widely anthologized body of poetry" (2); we may not yet understand 19th-century American women's poetry as well as we think we do. Clearly, the Recorder poets see publication as a logical step in a larger set of domestic actions. Both the sense of domestic immediacy in many of the Recorder poems and the direct discussion of politics in others complicate the trajectory embodied in the title of Loeffelholz's landmark study, From School to Salon: Reading Nineteenth-Century American Women's Poetry. Future critics will also need to confront the ways in which the poems of daily life common in the Recorder might seem apolitical even as they implicitly took part in the larger political struggle of defining African Americans as human beings (which Jay's letter so eloquently identifies).

Tracing Black women's poetry in venues like the Recorder may also hint at cross-racial poetic connections, for beyond the inclusion of "name" poets like Harriet Beecher Stowe, two women poets whose verse was regularly published by the Recorder seem to be white. Virginia Quarles's Poems (1861) came out by Rudd and Carleton in New York, and Lydia Reno's Early Buds (1853) was released in Boston by J. Munroe. What has generally been represented as a one-way exertion of influence--white to Black--might have been much more of an exchange, as poets like Quarles and Reno (along with other white abolitionist writers) might well have been reading the Recorder.

Finally, beyond these factors and beyond the often considerable intrinsic worth of their work, we need actively to consider that pre-Civil War Black women poets were likely among those whom Collins read as she planned and wrote The Curse of Caste. These poets were likely in Harper's mind as she wrote her important Reconstructionera fiction, poetry, essays, and lectures, and they unmistakably were read by a generation of African Americans with ties to the AME Church. The poems reprinted here represent a key potential literary influence on a range of postbellum Black literary texts, and they suggest that, without a fuller consideration of Black periodicals, our genealogy of Black letters remains incomplete.

Sample Poems from the Christian Recorder

   Ellen Nixon (11 May 1861)

   How keen the pain that rends my heart,
      How deep the grief that swells my soul--
   O say, from thee shall I depart--
      Thy lovely temple no more behold?

   Dark be the day, accurst the hour,
      When WOMAN from her throne descends:--
   That throne is VIRTUE; 'tis her power,
      Her hope of bliss on this depends.

   But has not injured virtue bled
      Beneath the slanderer's deadly blows?
   A thousand wrongs have drooped her head;
      Her heart has felt a thousand woes.

   O, Slander!--foulest imp of hell!
      Thy tongue is like the scorpion's sting;
   No peace no hope can near thee dwell;
      Thy breath can blast the fairest thing.

   O, I would weep, thou imp of hell!
      If weeping could restore thy fame;
   Till darkness veiled the setting sun,
      And glory shone around thy name.

   Repent, ye fools! and listen while I sing
   Of pleasures sweeter than the flowers of spring.
      Immortal man, be wise, and know thou this:
      Pleasure in God, alone, is perfect bliss.

"The Last Words of Peter Poyas"
Mary A. Cary (5 July 1862)

      "Do not open your lips; die silent, as
      you shallsee me do." (1)

   Die silent! let no fatal word
   From any brother's lips be heard:
   But back to deep concealment hide
      Our well-attested plans.
   Know that 'tis best they must abide;
      They'll live in worthier hands.

   Not even with the gory gyves,
   Now eager for our worthless lives--
   Nor for the bondman's sorrowing tears,
      Make an ignoble truce.
   But score a mark for future years:
      They'll crush the foul abuse.

   One glance upon the bruised throng
   Whose woes our breezes bear along;
   A parting thought to them is due--
      Our crushed, despairing kind;
   An inward throb of love from you
      For those we leave behind.

   Then upward, with a steady eye,
   'Tis but to dare--'tis but to die!
   God counsels to be firm and true;
      Obey the great behest!
   Die silent, as you see me do,
      And leave to God the rest.

Emma A. Tates (9 Aug. 1862)

   On the death of John L. Herley

   Death has been here and stole away
      My only brother, John,
   And I'm still mourning here below,
      As one that's left alone.

   He was my father's son--
      But he is dead and gone;
   His suffering time on earth is o'er;
      He's bid adieu to time.

   We all remember what he said--
      "I'm not a holy man;
   But God can wash the crimson stain,
      If we in faith do pray."

   One thing I know--that he did pray;
      I witnessed with my ears;
   'Tis God alone can answer prayer--
      And he can answer ours.

   Once he professed to know the Lord--
      But, ah! too soon backslid;
   Like Adam, he partook of sin--
      Like Peter, then, he grieved.

   "I've prayed like Lazarus," were his words;
      "In prayer my life shall end."
   The cheering hope consoles me now,
      That Jesus Christ his prayer did hear.

   The Lord says, "I'm the sinner's friend;
      For him I shed my blood.
   Backsliders, will you turn to me,
      And heal my wounds that bleed?"

   Remember friends, as we pass by
      The grave of brother John,
   As we are now, so once was he,
      But time with him is o'er.

   My joy he was, I do confess;
      He rests upon my mind--
   The time has come that I do miss
      My only brother John.

   My sisters, don't you feel his loss?
      Oh! Father feels it more.
   My mother--can she count the cost,
      Upon whose breast he leans.

   She often offered him to God
      In prayer, both night and day,
   That He would his backslidings heal,
      And wash his sins away.

   Her prayer is answered by the Lord,
      In mercy, I do trust:
   And his poor soul, I hope, is saved,
      To live among the just.

   Oh! Guiding Father, of the son
      Of my dear brother John,
   I do beseech thee, from thy throne,
      Remember this dear one.

   Father nor mother, he has none--
      An orphan, Lord, indeed.
   May he be raised in fear of God,
      His love and precepts heed.

"The Anxious Young Pious Mother"
Belle Goode (30 May 1863)

   If I loved thee, oh! my Saviour,
      The vain heart of mine would be
   Free from every carnal pleasure,
      And content to follow thee.

   If I loved thee, oh! my Saviour,
      I would strive to please thee here,
   Then my soul would find acceptance,
      In a higher, brighter sphere.

   If I loved thee, oh! my Saviour,
      Earth would be a pleasant place,
   But alas! 'tis sad and dreary,
      With no smile from thy dear face.

   If I loved thee, oh! my Saviour,
      I would delight in all that's good,
   Ever willing to obey thee,
      Then I'd love thee as I should.

   Thou hast said, exalted Master,
      They who love thy law will keep,
   Help me Lord, incarnate Savior,
      To learn of thee, low at they feet.

   Wilt thou let thy Holy Spirit,
      Change this sinful heart of mine,
   Then my weary burdened soul,
      Will be renewed by divine grace.

   Then, dear Savior, wilt thou guide me?
      O'er the rugged path of life,
   Make me humble, make me prayerful,
      Cleanse my heart from every vice.

"Mistress and Slave"
Ellen Malvin (12 Dec. 1863)

   He wooed her with a lofty grace
   And a haughty head unbent;
   He touched her with his courtly smile,
   And her simple heart outwent;
   Ere ever she had learned
   What its quicker beating meant,
   She mutely dreams with folded hands,
   While I, beside her chair,
   Before his coming brush and wind
   The sunny rings of hair
   Slowly she lifts her eyelids
   To the mirror, seeing ne'er
   How her blue-eyed childish beauty
   Pales before my image there.
   Dreaming--with her jeweled fingers
   Toying in their white unrest,
   With the rosebuds that he brought her
   Blood-red blossomed on her breast.
   To her girlish heart he seemeth
   Of all men the noblest, best;
   And the world doth give him honor,
   Grave men listen when he speaks,
   And his tones send rosy pleasure
   Flushing to her lily cheeks.
   But a troop of dark-browned minions,
   Trembling at his bidding wait,
   And his shame is on the faces
   Of the children at his gate.
   But the fear, the shame, the sorrow,
   Never haunt the dreamer here,
   Dreaming o'er again, the music
   Murmured in her maiden ear;
   I can say the very words
   That he whispered low and clear;
   For when he uprose to leave her,
   With the last kiss dropt for going,
   There I met him face to face.
   All his beauty on him glowing,
   And my heart stood still within me,
   In a sense of dread foreknowing,
   For I saw the instant passion
   Through his hot blood mounting higher,
   Till his burning eyes devoured me
   In their fierce exultant fire.
   Darkly rose my doom before me,
   Slave and victim as the rest;
   She, a blossom to be gathered
   Just to wither on his breast.
   I, a queen to be dethroned
   And ground beneath his heel in jest.
   I a queen by right of beauty
   I a slave by wrong of birth.
   Lips and eyes and braided tresses
   Valued at their market worth,
   For one vile drop within my veins
   That links me to the subject race;
   To lose my crown of womanhood
   For some foul semblance in its place,
   Shall I curse her for her glad heart
   Throbbing 'neath the snowy lace?
   Shall I hate her for the whiteness
   Of her cheek so girlish fair,
   For the simple Northern beauty
   Falling down her golden hair?
   Nay, let her dream on while she may,
   For her I have no curse to spare,
   Smiling 'mid her flowers and laces,
   Petted child, and wife to be,
   From this trance of happy worship
   She shall bitterest waking see.
   Not to us alone the sorrow,
   We who suffer, we who toil,
   For the serpent's sin so winding
   Round their lives his slimy coil.
   On our tyrants, our oppressors,
   Fall the lightning curses fast,
   On a nation old in sinning,
   Ere the flush of youth is past,
   Who the old world's crime of crimes,
   In her first fresh furrow cast.
   Not in vain our cries are cleaving
   Upward to the throne of God.
   Long her sons shall writhe in anguish
   Under the avenging rod,
   Ere the wo[e]ful sheaves are garnered
   And the bloody vintage trod.

"To Lilia in Heaven"
Hannah Myers (30 Apr. 1864)

   Dearest Lilia, thou hast left us,
      How we miss thy cheerful smile!
   But thy spirit is happy in heaven,
      Around the throne of God awhile.

   Dearest Lilia, though hast left us,
      Would that I were with thee now,
   In that bright seraphic mansion,
      Where safe we are from grief and wo[e].

   Dearest Lilia, how we miss thee,
      From our bright and cheerful hearth,
   Yet thy Father--God can keep thee,
      Safely folded in His arms.

   Thou art free from death and sickness;
      In that bright and happy home,
   There thy angel sisters greet thee,
      Make thee welcome to the throne.

   Dearest Lilia, I will meet thee
      When the Archangel's trump shall sound,
   And with the ransom'd of the nation,
      Sing redeeming love around.

Angeline R. Demby (29 Apr. 1865)

Respectfully Dedicated to the Memory of our Much Beloved and
Martyred President, Abraham Lincoln

   We mourn, to learn that we are struck
      With such appalling wo[e];
   We bow beneath the mighty stroke;
      Twas God who willed it so.

   A Martyr to sweet Freedom's laws,
      A patriot true and brave,
   With noble brow and form erect,
      Is stricken to the grave.

   The grave shall not environ him;
      His spirit is with God;
   It took its flight at early morn,
      When Jesus spoke the word.

   "Come unto me, beloved Son,
      You filled your place of trust;
   I call you hence, come unto me;
      I'll raise you from the dust."

   The nation mourns a patriot slain!
      Lord, heal the broken heart.
   We cannot bear this stunning pain,
      Unless thou heal the smart.

   Thy balm apply to bleeding hearts;
      Our comfort Thou shalt be.
   It was thy will that we should part
      With him who made us free.

   In bondage dark, oppressed with shame,
      We long were made to stand,
   Till Abraham Lincoln did proclaim
      Freedom throughout the land.

   God bless the true Republican!
      His name shall ever live,
   Till God shall unto every man
      Perpetual freedom give.

   Though we still weep, we will not stand,
      With folded hands and mourn--
   But, with all friends of Abraham,
      We'll trample treason down.


Brown, Launda

Poem: "Behind the Scenes of Life," 1 May 1855 [a domestic meditation]

No definite biographical information yet found.

May be connected to the Laura Brown (c.1827 in Maryland--?) who lived in Norristown, Pennsylvania, as a servant of white teachers Eliza L. and Harriet Bush; see 1860 Census of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, 710.

Cary, Mary Ann [Camberton Shadd]

Poem: "The Last Words of Peter Poyas," 5 July 1862 [a racialized call-to-arms/history]

Birth--Death: 9 Oct. 1823 in Delaware--5 June 1893 in Washington, DC.

Residences: Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York, Ontario (Elgin, Chatham, Windsor, and Toronto), Washington, DC.

Parentage: Abraham Doras Shadd (1801-1882), a shoemaker and longtime activist, and Harriet Parnell (1808-after 1881)

Spouse: Thomas F. Cary, a barber in Toronto, Ontario (Canada West)

Children: Sarah E. (1858--?) and Linton S. (1859--?); three step-children

Additional: noted educator, writer, editor, and activist; author of Hints to the Colored People of the North (1849) and A Plea for Emigration, or Notes of Canada West (1852); founder and de facto editor of the Provincial Freeman; speaker at 1878 National Women's Suffrage Association Conference; one of the first women to receive a law degree (Howard University).

Sources: Gardner, "Mary Ann Shadd Cary"; 1880 Census of Washington, DC, 149D; 1881 Census of Kent County, Ontario (Div. 2), 10.

Conn, Mrs. Rachel

Poem: "The Voice of A Departed Friend," 17 Oct. 1863 [a meditation on death]

Birth--Death: c.1807 in New Jersey--November 1863 in Burlington, New Jersey

Residence: Burlington, New Jersey

Parentage: unknown

Spouse: Asher Conn (c.1805--after 1880), a shoemaker (1850) and, later, cake baker (1860); married c.1834

Children: Mary Elizabeth (1842--?, m. Henry Walton), Martha Ann (1843--?), Anna E. (1844--?), William (1846--?)

Additional: a brief announcement of her 15 Nov. 1863 funeral sermon appears in the Christian Recorder 14 Nov. 1863

Sources: 1830 Census of Burlington County, New Jersey, 18; 1840 Census of Burlington County, New Jersey, 195; 1850 Census of Burlington County, New Jersey, 20; 1860 Census of Burlington County, New Jersey, 54; 1870 Census of Burlington County, New Jersey, 167 (under "Archer Conn'); 1880 Census of Burlington County, New Jersey, 107B.

Daffin, Sarah L. ("Sallie")

Poem: "Sacred to the Memory of Mrs. M. C. Weaver," 2 Apr. 1864 [an elegy to the wife of the Christian Recorder's editor]

Birth--Death: c.1845 in Pennsylvania--after 1880

Residence: Philadelphia; Chester, New Jersey; Wilmington, Delaware; Norfolk, Virginia; Wilmington, North Carolina; Clinton, Tennessee; Washington, DC.

Parentage: probably daughter of Cecilia (c.1810 in DC--?). Daffin's sister Harriet (born c.1841 in Pennsylvania) was living with her in DC in 1880

Spouse: no record of marriage found

Additional: an 1860 graduate of Philadelphia's Institute for Colored Youth; active among ICY alumni; taught in New Jersey and Delaware in the early 1860s; taught in schools for freedpeople in Virginia and Tennessee; later taught for several years in the Washington, DC, schools; wrote over a dozen letters to the Christian Recorder (mainly from Virginia and North Carolina) in 1864 and 1865 about efforts to educate recently freed slaves in the South, some of which appeared under the name "Sallie" (as did her poem), and some under her full name; also wrote for The Missionary Reporter in 1867.

Sources: 1850 Census of Philadelphia, 370; 1870 Census of Philadelphia, 269 and 405; 1880 Census of Washington, DC, 146B (two entries away from Francis J. and Charlotte Grimk6); 18 May 1861, 28 Sept. 1861, 25 July 1863, 8 Oct. 1864, 19 Oct. 1867, 1 Feb. 1868, 3 Oct. 1868, and 17 July 1873 issues of the Christian Recorder; Tanner 446-51; Morris 462-69.

Davis, Mary, Emma, and Rachel

Poem: Untitled poem, 2 Apr. 1864 [an elegy to their sister]

Mary's Birth--Death: c.1841 in New Jersey--?

Emma's Birth--Death: c.1844 in New Jersey--?

Rachel's Birth--Death: c.1842 in New Jersey--?

Residence: Burlington, New Jersey

Parentage: daughters of Henry Davis (c.1810 in Pennsylvania--January 1874 in New Jersey), who was ordained with A. W. Wayman and served as an AME minister and an agent for the Recorder in New Jersey for several decades, and Eliza (c.1810 in Pennsylvania--?)

Spouses/Children: unknown

Additional: poem written in memory of sister Francis Ann (February 1851-5 Mar. 1864)

Sources: 1850 Census of Burlington County, New Jersey, 40; 1860 Census of Burlington County, New Jersey, 17; Wayman, Recollections, 24, 26, 33, 115, 116, 145, 146, 196-197; Handy, Scraps of AME History, 65, 150, 166.

Davis, Sarah E[mily]

Poems: "Now is the Time for Freedom," 18 Apr. 1863 [a racialized call-to-arms] "Antedeluvian World," 30 May 1863 [a biblical study] "Composed on the Death of Willie James," 21 May 1864 [an elegy]

Birth--Death: c.1848 in New Jersey--after 1870

Residence: Medford, New Jersey

Parentage: daughter of Robert Davis (c.1805 in Delaware--after 1860), a laborer, and Sarah Anna (c.1806 in Delaware--after 1860), who might have been the daughter of Hester Carey (c.1784 in Delaware--?), who was living with the family in 1850

Spouse/Children: unknown

Additional: the Willie James mentioned in one of the poems is likely William James (born c.1845 in Pennsylvania), who was living with John and Sarah Gould in Burlington, New Jersey--near Rev. Henry Davis (see above; they may be related)--in 1850. Sarah Davis's contribution to the Home for the Aged and Infirm in Philadelphia is noted in the Christian Recorder 22 Oct. 1870. Obituaries for Davis's sister Eliza appear in the Christian Recorder 18 Feb. 1865 and 18 Mar. 1865 (the latter with an untitled poem that may be by Davis).

Sources: 1850 Census of Burlington County, New Jersey, 443 and 40-41; 1860 Census of Burlington County, New Jersey, unnumbered page.

Demby, Miss Angeline R.

Poem: "The Weary Wanderer," 9 Apr. 1864 [a prodigal child story] "Lines," 29 Apr. 1865 [an elegy to Lincoln]

Birth--Death: c. 1848 in Pennsylvania--after 1870

Residence: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Parentage: probably daughter of Angeline E. Demby (c.1816 in Pennsylvania--after 1880) and sister of Lewis (1853--?), Ann Jane (1856--?), Josephine (1860-?), Jacob S. (1866--?).

Spouse/Children: unknown

Additional: listed as a nurse in the 1870 census; sometimes listed as "Denby" and sometimes as "Annie R."; also published lyrics for "Sweet Star of Hope, A Sacred Ballad" (which was set to music by a "Professor A. Burns") in the Christian Recorder 27 Jan. 1866 and a short essay titled "The Present Crisis" in the Christian Recorder 8 Oct. 1864; is noted as a lecturer in the Christian Recorder 8 Oct. 1864, 15 Oct. 1864, and 11 Dec. 1869.

Sources: 1870 Census of Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, 380-381; 1880 Census of Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, 126C-126D.

Flood, Lydia Jane

Poem: "Our Land and Race," 6 July 1861 [a racialized call-to-arms]

No definite biographical information yet found.

Flood might have been related to Isaac Flood, an early African American in California who married educator Elizabeth Thome Scott. The Floods were active in the AME Church and named one of their daughters Lydia (Lydia Flood Jackson, who later became a well-known businesswoman). See 1860 Census of Alameda County, California, 87; 1880 Census of Alameda County, California, 368; Brown, Homespun Heroines, 241.

Goode, Mrs. Belle [Isabella]

Poem: "The Anxious Young Pious Mother," 30 May 1863 [a meditation on motherhood]

Birth--Death: December 1837 in Pennsylvania or Ohio--after 1900

Residence: Cincinnati, Ohio

Parentage: unknown, though father probably born in Pennsylvania and mother probably born in Louisiana

Spouse: Thomas Good[e] (October 1826 in Virginia--after 1900), house painter; married c.1858

Children: Thomas (1860--?, died in infancy), Charles E. (1861--?), John W. (1864-?, married Sarah J.--.)

Additional: sometimes listed as Isabelle; Thomas sometimes listed as J. Thomas.

Sources: 1860 Census of Hamilton County, Ohio, 258-259; 1870 Census of Hamilton County, Ohio, 196; 1880 Census of Hamilton County, Ohio, 323B; 1900 Census of Hamilton County, Ohio, 1B.

Harper, Frances Ellen Watkins

Poem: Untitled, 9 Mar. 1861 [a historical meditation on the death of Charles II]

Birth--Death: 24 Sept. 1825 in Baltimore--22 Feb. 1911 in Philadelphia

Residences: Baltimore; Philadelphia; Columbus, Ohio

Parentage: names remain unknown; both died young. Harper was raised in the home of her uncle, William Watkins, an active abolitionist, minister, and educator.

Spouse: Fenton Harper (?--23 May 1864), farmer; married November 1860 in Cincinnati; the couple lived on a farm outside of Columbus, Ohio, during their marriage

Child: Mary E. (1862--?), who gave dramatic readings and lectured

Additional: already a well-known poet and lecturer when her poetry first began to appear in the Christian Recorder; contributed several poems as well as three serialized novels and a number of letters and essays to the Christian Recorder after the Civil War; arguably the most important Black woman writer of the nineteenth century

Sources: Boyd, Foster "Introduction," Jackson

Hart, Lizzie ('Lizzie')

Poems: "Lines Written on the Death of Julia Hart," 28 May 1864 [an elegy] "Always Smile," 3 Sept. 1864 [moral instruction] "What I Love," 14 Jan. 1865 [a nature poem] Untitled, 15 Apr. 1865 [a nature poem]

Birth--Death: not yet determined

Residence: Warren County, Ohio (Morrowtown, Roachester, and other locations)

Parentage: May be a daughter of Cupid Hart (c.1805 in North Carolina--c.1875 in Roachester, Ohio) and Judy Hart (c.1805 in Virginia--c.1875 in Roachester, Ohio). Cupid Hart was a free Black carpenter who moved from Logan County, Kentucky, to Warren County, Ohio, c.1855. Their daughter Judy may be the Julia Hart of Roachester noted above (both were born c.1843). Their daughter Jane (born c.1838) carried the middle initial "E" and may be Lizzie (Elizabeth?) Hart; the elegy to Julia Hart noted above carries the byline "By her sister Lizzie"

Additional: wrote a series of 11 letters to the Christian Recorder in 1864 and 1865 that consider the Civil War (including the Fort Pillow incident, Black soldiers' pay, and Lincoln's assassination), the future of African Americans, and events in southern Ohio; some of these letters, like three of the poems above, are signed only "Lizzie," while others are signed "Lizzie Hart."

Sources: 28 May 1864 Christian Recorder; 1840 Census of Logan County, Kentucky, 219; 1850 Census of Logan County, Kentucky, 133; 1870 Census of Warren County, Ohio, 383.

Henry, Harriet E.

Poem: "Sacred," 10 May 1862 [an elegy]

Birth--Death: c.1848 in Ohio--after 1862

Residence: Mt. Vernon, Ohio

Parentage: William (c.1824 in Ohio--after 1860), a barber, and Mary Ann (c.1823 in Ohio--after 1860)

Spouse/Children: unknown

Additional: Identification is tentative. Henry may be the Hatty Henry (c.1840 in Ohio--?) listed with Mary Henry (c.1823--?) in the 1870 Toledo census. Poem dedicated "To the memory of Anna Maria Johnson, 30 Oct. 1841--26 Mar. 1862, daughter of James and Ann Lee"; no information yet found on Johnson or the Lees.

Sources: 1850 Census of Knox County, Ohio, 252; 1870 Census of Knox County, Ohio, 326.

Howard, Mrs. E. B.

Poem: "Fort Sumter," 27 Apr. 1861 [a racialized call-to-arms] No definite biographical information yet found.

James, Mrs. Edwin [Mary]

Poem: "The Still Small Voice," 18 Oct. 1862 [a biblical study]

Birth--Death: c.1837 in Pennsylvania--after 1862

Residence: Chester County, Pennsylvania (Londonderry, Fallowfield)

Parentage: unknown

Spouse: Edwin James (c.1834 in Pennsylvania--after 1860), a farm laborer, probably the son of William James (c. 1802--after 1850) and Ann (c.1806--after 1850) of Chester County, Pennsylvania; Edwin and Mary married c.1851

Children: Franklin (1852--?), William (1859--?)

Additional: son Franklin listed alone, working as a gardener, in the 1870 Census of Chester County, Pennsylvania, 107.

Sources: 1850 Census of Chester County, Pennsylvania, 357; 1860 Census of Chester County, Pennsylvania, 244.

Jay, Hester A. B[rown]

Poem: "On the Death of A Sister," 21 Feb. 1863 [an elegy]

Birth--Death: c.1835 in Colchester, Connecticut--after 1863

Residences: Connecticut; Worcester, Massachusetts; Providence, Rhode Island

Parentage: probably daughter of Langdon Brown (c.1800--c. 1845) and Olivia (c.1801 in Connecticut--1 June 1882 in Worcester, Massachusetts)

Spouse: Joshua Jay (c.1830 in Baltimore, Maryland--after 1860), a jobber/laborer and carpet cleaner; married c. 1858

Children: John F. (23 Mar. 1859 in Worcester, Massachusetts--?), Melinda Isabella (13 Mar. 1860 in Worcester, Massachusetts--17 June 1860 in Worcester, Massachusetts, of consumption), William Langdon (3 May 1861 in Worcester, Massachusetts--30 July 1861 in Worcester, Massachusetts, of cholera)

Additional: Note following poem says she was living in Providence, Rhode Island. Also authored a letter published in the Christian Recorder 22 Nov. 1862

Sources: 1840 Census of Middlesex County, Connecticut, 430; 1850 Census of New London County, Connecticut, 46; 1860 Census of Worcester County, Massachusetts, 270; Manuscript Worcester Births, 1: 161, 2: 12, and 2: 26; Manuscript Worcester Deaths, 1: 128, 1: 150, and 4: 70.

Johnson, Miss Ellen

Poem: "Loss and Gain," 26 Nov. 1864 [moral instruction]

No definite biographical information yet found.

Byline notes residence in Buffalo, New York. She was probably related to H. Martha Johnson (below) and was a member of the Daniel A. Payne Literary Society of Buffalo. She might have been related to tailor Charles Johnson, who lived in Buffalo in 1860. On the Payne Literary Society, see Christian Recorder 3 Sept. 1864, which notes an "Ellen Johnston" reading a "Blind Lady's Composition."

Johnson, Estellena

Poem: "To the Memory of Mary E. Wheeler," 11 Apr. 1863 [an elegy]

Birth--Death: c.1844 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania--after 1865

Residence: Philadelphia

Parentage: Abraham Johnson (c. 1813 in Pennsylvania--after 1860), a coachman and whitewasher, and Catherine (c.1814 in Maryland--?)

Spouse/Children: unknown

Additional: graduation speaker at the Institute for Colored Youth (Christian Recorder 10 May 1862); first VP of Alumni Association (Christian Recorder 28 Sept 1861); ICY Prize for Classics (Christian Recorder 11 May 1861); taught in Wilmington, Delaware, c.1865 and raised, with her pupils, $1.21 for Sarah Daffin's work educating freedpeople.

Sources: 1850 Census of Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, 21; 1860 Census of Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, 103; Christian Recorder 9 Dec. 1865

Johnson, H. Martha

Poem: "To the Daniel A. Payne L. S. of Buffalo," 24 Dec. 1864 [a celebratory poem]

No definite biographical information yet found.

Byline notes residence in Buffalo, New York; a member of the Daniel A. Payne Literary Society of Buffalo; she might have been related to Miss Ellen Johnson (above). On the Payne Literary Society, see Christian Recorder 3 Sept. 1864.

Liming, Delia

Poem: "Prayer for Our Country," 13 July 1861 [a racialized call to-arms]

No definite biographical information yet found.

Note following poem says she is from "Kensington."

Malvin, Ellen

Poem: "Mistress and Slave," 12 Dec. 1863 [a slave narrative]

No definite biographical information yet found.

Might be related to the large Malvin/Melvin family in Scioto County, Ohio, which included an Ella Melvin (1858-?), who is listed with parents George and Lucy in the 1870 Census of Scioto County, Ohio, 601, and with siblings in the 1880 Census of Scioto County, Ohio, 281D. This family seems to have come from Fauquier County, Virginia.

Myers, Hannah A.

Poem: "To Lilia in Heaven," 30 Apr. 1864 [an elegy]

Birth--Death: c. 1821 in Cumberland County, New Jersey--before 1880

Residences: Salem County, New Jersey (Mannington, Haines Neck Salem)

Parentage: unknown

Spouse: Alexander Myers (c.1800 in Salem County, New Jersey--pre-1870), a farmer and general laborer; married c.1841

Children: Samuel (1842--?), Nelson (1844--?), Lavinia (c.1846--?), Mary (c.1848-?), Charles A. (c.1850--?), E. Marshall (c.1852--?), Almina L. (1853--?), Anna C. (c.1861--?), Lilia (c.1863--early 1864)

Additional: worked as a domestic after Alexander Myers's death

Sources: 1850 Census of Salem County, New Jersey, 58; 1860 Census of Salem County, New Jersey, 49; 1870 Census of Salem County, New Jersey, 71; 1880 Census of Salem County, New Jersey, 161C.

Nixon, Mrs. Eliza

Poems: "The Pastor's Crown," 2 Feb. 1861 "Thou Art Gone!" 6 Dec. 1862

Birth--Death: c.1840 in Pennsylvania--after 1880

Residence: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Parentage: unknown

Spouse: William Nixon (c.1836 in Pennsylvania--?), a laborer

Children: Mathilda (1865--?), Martha (1868--?), Maggie (1873--?), Ellen (1879--?)

Additional: connection to Ellen Nixon below, if any, remains unclear

Sources: 1860 Census of Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, 17; 1870 Census of Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, 338; 1880 Census of Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, 128C.

Nixon, Mrs. Ellen

Poems: Untitled, 11 May 1861

Birth--Death: c.1829 in Pennsylvania--after 1874

Residence: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Parentage: unknown

Spouse: Benjamin Nixon (c.1800 in Pennsylvania--?), a "car man" who was also active in masonic organizations. They separated 2 July 1864; a notice from Benjamin Nixon in the Christian Recorder 26 Nov. 1864 notes that she told "a long story of ill-usage" and needed no support, as she was "abundantly able to provide for herself."

Children: (probably step-children) Sarah (1844--?) and Francis (c.1848--?)

Additional: contribution via Bethel AME to the Christian Recorder "Dollar Money" fund noted in three mid-1874 issues of the Christian Recorder; one of the vice presidents of the Women's Union Christian Association (see Christian Recorder 26 June 1873 and 3 July 1873); worked as a seamstress after leaving her husband

Sources: 1860 Census of Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, 5.

Palmer, Esther Ann [also referred to as "Mrs. Palmer"]

Poems: "Home," 19 Jan. 1861 [moral instruction] "Parting," 26 Jan. 1861 [moral instruction]

Birth--Death: c. January 1826 in Pennsylvania--after 1900

Residences: Philadelphia; Cape May, New Jersey

Parentage: unknown, but probably from Maryland, though the 1880 Census says father born in Cuba. May be the daughter of Anna Rohs (c.1795 in Maryland-after 1870), who was living with the Palmers in 1870.

Spouse: James Palmer (c.1826 in Maryland--before 1900), a seaman, and later, proprietor of "Banneker House" in Cape May; married before 1870

Children: one adopted daughter, Bella Woodson (c.1858 in Pennsylvania--after 1880), listed as a teacher and living with them in 1880

Additional: sometimes listed as "Esther A.," and sometimes as "Asther A." Noted in the Christian Recorder 6 July 1861 as a "lady of high literary attainment" who had just opened a trimmings store; the Christian Recorder 23 Nov. 1861 places the store alongside William Still's stove shop in what was previously the Philadelphia Anti-Slavery office

Sources: 1870 Census of Cape May County, New Jersey, 51; 1880 Census of Cape May County, New Jersey, 12C; 1900 Census of Cape May County, New Jersey, 8A (listing under "Asther A. Palmer").

Scott, Charlotte E.

Poems: "Lines in Memory of Charles D. Seymour," 30 Apr. 1864 [an elegy] "Lines," 7 July 1866 [an elegy to Francis M. Seymour] Untitled poem, 27 Jan. 1866 [an elegy to her cousin Jacob Morris]

Birth--Death: c.1848 in Pennsylvania--after 1870

Residence: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Parentage: daughter of William Scott (c.1812 in Maryland--after 1870), a "dealer," and Sarah (c.1827 in Pennsylvania--before 1870); William's second wife was Mary (c.1835--?)

Spouse/Children: unknown; not married and still using maiden name in 1870

Additional: Jacob Morris (born c.1843 in Pennsylvania) was the son of William Scott's sister Sarah (c.1827 in Pennsylvania--?), who married Francis Morris (c.1834 in Pennsylvania--?), a Philadelphia laborer. No definite information yet found on the Seymour family

Sources: 1850 Census of Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, 342; 1860 Census of Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, 363; 1870 Census of Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, 384.

Steward, Sarah L. and Susan

Poem: "Respectfully Dedicated to Our Father," 16 Apr. 1864 [an elegy]

Sarah's Birth--Death: c. 1843 in Pennsylvania--?

Susan's Birth--Death: c. 1845 in Pennsylvania--?

Residence: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Parentage: daughters of John H. Steward (also listed as "Stewart"; 12 Nov. 1779 in Delaware--18 Mar. 1864 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), a laborer, and Elizabeth (c.1794 in Delaware--?)

Spouses/Children: unknown

Additional: Sarah and Susan had a brother Charles (c.1852 in Pennsylvania--?) Sources: 1860 Census of Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, 487.

Sullivan, Miss Mary [Maria L.]

Poem: "To Willie," 26 Mar. 1864 [an elegy]

Birth--Death: October 1847 in Virginia--before 1930, probably in Massachusetts

Residences: Virginia; New Bedford, Massachusetts

Parentage: Frances Sullivan (c.1818 in Virginia--c.1875 in Massachusetts), a laborer, and Julia A. (c.1820 in Virginia, perhaps to William Stewart--c.1875 in Massachusetts)

Spouse: William Turner (November 1845 in Virginia--before 1930, probably in Massachusetts), a day laborer; married c.1872

Children: Herbert R. (May 1875--?), Julia F. (October 1876--?), Elizabeth F. (December 1881--?; married Stevens), Kendall L. (October 1885--?), Olive S. (June 1890--?)

Additional: Identification is tentative, but quite likely. Note with poem says she is from New Bedford and that the eponymous "Willie" is Willie Sullivan, d. 9 Mar. 1864, perhaps at age 13 months. Willie Sullivan was probably Mary's brother--and named for William H. Stewart (c.1804 in Virginia--after 1880), who is listed with the family in 1870 and 1880. (William H. Stewart might have been Julia Sullivan's father and so Mary's grandfather. In 1870, he was working as a laborer, but in 1880, he is listed as a grocer.) Mary worked as a dressmaker before marrying; at times after her marriage, she worked as a laundress. Mary's brother Emmanuel (c.1846 in Virginia--?) was one of the first African American lawyers in New Bedford.

Sources: 1870 Census of Bristol County, Massachusetts, 102; 1880 Census of Bristol County, Massachusetts, 142C; 1900 Census of Bristol County, Massachusetts, 2A; 1910 Census of Bristol County, Massachusetts, 54A; 1920 Census of Bristol County, Massachusetts, 12B; 1930 Census of Bristol County, Massachusetts, 18A.

Tates, Emma A.

Poem: "Lines on the Death of John L. Herley" [an elegy/moral instruction]

Birth--Death: c. 1826 in Kentucky--after 1860

Residence: Brown County, Ohio

Parentage: Lewis Herley (c.1800 in Kentucky--after 1880), a farmer, and Matilda (?--before 1850). Lewis Herley's second wife was Eleanor (c.1808 in Kentucky--after 1880).

Spouse: Israel Tate[s] (c.1826 in Virginia--?), a laborer, sometimes listed as Isaak; married c. 1844

Children: Thomas (1844--?), Susan (1848--?), John H. (1850--?), Martha (1854--?)

Additional: John L. Herley (c.1833 in Kentucky--9 Aug. 1862) was Tates's brother. Surname sometimes spelled "Hurley."

Sources: 1850 Census of Brown County, Ohio, 440-441; 1860 Census of Brown County, Ohio, 30-31; 1870 Census of Brown County, Ohio, 46; 1880 Census of Brown County, Ohio, 44D.

Thompson, Jane E.

Poem: "On the Death of Mrs. Mary C. Weaver," 16 Apr. 1864 [an elegy on the wife of the Christian Recorder's editor]

No definitive biographical information yet found.

Jane is a family name among the Hamilton County, Ohio, family of minor poets Clara Ann Thompson and Priscilla Jane Thompson. There was also a Jane Thompson with AME ties who lived in San Francisco.

Trusty, Priscilla

Poem: Untitled, 15 Feb. 1862 [a biblical study]

Birth--Death: c.1809 in Maryland--after 1870

Residence: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Parentage: unknown

Spouse: Washington Trusty (c. 1810 in Delaware--c.1860), a laborer

Children: Mary (c.1848--?; married John Reed and lived in Philadelphia)

Additional: Identification is tentative but likely. Lived with daughter Mary after 1860. May be related to the Rev. Jacob B. Trusty of the Lombard Street AME Church.

Sources: 1840 Census of Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, 225; 1850 Census of Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, 3; 1870 Census of Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, 349 and 450.

Vashon, Susan Paul Smith

Poem: "Lines on the Death of Mary C. Weaver," 9 Apr. 1864 [an elegy on the wife of the Christian Recorder's editor]

Birth--Death: 19 Sept. 1838 in Boston--27 Nov. 1912 in St. Louis

Residences: Boston; Pittsburgh; Washington, DC; St. Louis

Parentage: musician Elijah Smith and teacher Anne Catherine Paul (daughter of Rev. Thomas Paul [3 Sept. 1773--12 Apr. 1831] and Catherine Waterhouse)

Spouse: George Boyer Vashon (25 July 1824 in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, to John Bathan Vashon and Anne Smith--5 Oct. 1878 in Rodney, Mississippi), activist, writer, and educator; married on 17 Feb. 1857 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Children: John Boyer (9 Sept. 1859--8 Apr. 1924), Frank C. (1860--?), George (1861-?), Emma L. (1867--?), and three who died in infancy (including Anne, 18631865)

Additional: a life-long activist, educator, club woman

Sources: Gardner, "Susan Paul Vashon'; Thornell, "The Absent Ones"


Poem: "Lines," 9 Nov. 1861 [an elegy to Harry W. Allmond]

No definite biographical information yet found.

Byline lists residence as Gouldtown--probably Gouldtown, Cumberland County, New Jersey (not far from Philadelphia and one of the locations where Daniel Payne founded a literary society; see Payne, Recollections, 114 and 252). Poem is in memory of Harry W. Allmond, probably the Harry Allmond (1858 in Pennsylvania--?), the son of undertaker Thomas W. Allmond (c.1820 in Virginia--after 1870) and Phebe (c.1825 in New Jersey--?) of Philadelphia. Prominent in the community, Thomas Allmond was a neighbor of minister Jeremiah Asher and singer Elizabeth Greenfield. See 1860 Census of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 93; 1870 Census of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 743.

Works Cited

Bennett, Paula Bernat. Poets in the Public Sphere: The Emancipatory Project of American Women's Poetry, 1800-1900. Princeton: Princeton UP, 2003.

--, ed. Nineteenth-Century American Women Poets. Boston: Blackwell, 1998.

Boyd, Melba Joyce. Discarded Legacy: Politics and Poetics in the Life of Frances E. W. Harper, 1825-1911. Detroit: Wayne State U P, 1994.

Brown, Hallie Q. Homespun Heroines. 1926. New York: Oxford UP, 1988.

Cary, Mary A. "The Lest Words of Peter Poyas." Christian Recorder 5 July 1862: n.p.

Demby, Angeline R. "Lines." Christian Recorder 29 Apr, 1865: n.p.

Foster, Frances Smith. "A Narrative of the Interesting Origins and (Somewhat) Surprising Developments of African-American Print Culture." American Literary History 17.4 (2005): 714-40.

--. Introduction. Minnie's Sacrifice; Sowing and Reaping; and Trial and Triumph: Three Rediscovered Novels by Frances Ellen Watkins Harper. Boston: Beacon P, 1994. xi-xxxvii.

Gardner, Eric. "Mary Ann Shadd Cary." Encyclopedia of African American Literature. Eds. Hans Ostrom and J. David Macey. Westport, CT: Greenwood P, 2005.1 : 244-45.

--. "Susan Paul Vashon." African American National Biography. New York: Oxford UP, forthcoming.

Goode, Belle. "The Anxious Young Pious Mother." Christian Recorder 30 May 1863: n.p.

Gray, Janet, ed. She Wields a Pen: Nineteenth Century American Women's Poetry. Iowa City: U of Iowa P, 1997.

Handy, James A. Scraps of African Methodist Episcopal History. Philadelphia: AME Book Concern, 1902.

Jackson, Cassandra. "Frances Ellen Watkins Harper." African American Lives. Eds. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham. New York: Oxford UP, 2004. 374-76.

Jay, Hester A. B. Letter to the Editor. Christian Recorder 22 Nov. 1862: n.p.

Kachun, Mitch. "Interrogating the Silences: Julia C. Collins, 19th-Century Black Readers and Writers, and the Christian Recorder." African American Review 40 (2006): 645-55.

Loeffelholz, Mary. From School to Salon: Reading Nineteenth-Century American Women's Poetry. Princeton: Princeton UP, 2004.

Malvin, Ellen. "Mistress and Slave." Christian Recorder 12 Dec. 1863: n.p.

Morris, Robert C. "Freedmen's Education." Black Women in America. Ed. Darlene Clark Hine. Brooklyn: Carlson, 1993.1: 462-69.

Myers, Hannah. "To Lilia in Heaven." Christian Recorder 30 Apr. 1864: n.p.

Nixon, Ellen. Untitled. Christian Recorder 11 May 1861: n.p.

Payne, Daniel A. Recollections of Seventy Years. Nashville: AME Sunday School Union, 1888.

Sherman, Joan. Invisible Poets. 2nd ed. Urbana: U of Illinois P, 1988.

--, ed. Collected Black Women's Poetry. New York: Oxford UP, 1988.4 vols.

Tanner, Benjamin T. An Apology for African Methodism. Baltimore: n.p., 1867.

Tates, Emma A. "Lines." Christian Recorder 9 Aug. 1862: n.p.

Thornell, Paul N. D. "The Absent Ones and the Providers: A Biography of the Vashons." Journal of Negro History 83.4 (1998): 284-301.

Wayman, Alexander W. My Recollections of African M. E. Ministers, or Forty Years' Experience in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Philadelphia: AME Book Rooms, 1881.


(1.) Editor's note: One of Denmark Vesey's lieutenants, carpenter Peter Poyas reportedly spoke these words to his fellows as he was about to be hung.

Eric Gardner is the editor of an anthology of early American plays on race, Major Voices: The Drama of Slavery (Toby 2005), and author of articles on Harriet Wilson, Lucy Delaney, Frank J. Webb, Mary Webb, and Chloe Russel, among others. He chairs the English Department at Saginaw Valley State University. Professor Gardner thanks Jodie Gardner, Mitch Kachun, Joycelyn Moody, Aileen Keenan, Veta Tucker, and the staff of the SVSU Library for their aid.

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