The Washington Post

Poems written for black press recovered

Extensive research by two university professors has led to the compilation and release of little known poetry written between 1863 and 1864 for New York-based newspapers the Anglo-African and the National Anti-Slavery Standard.

Access to the newspapers’ content has been limited to microfilm or subscription-only online resources. The researchers, Rebecca Weir of the University of Cambridge, England, and Elizabeth Lorang of the University of Nebraska have made 140 poems from those newspapers available online, along with a good explanation as to why these poems are important to the study of the Civil War.

They have titled their work: “Will not thy days be by thy poet sung: Poems of the Anglo-African and National Anti-Slavery Standard 1863-1864.”

According to a news release, the researchers “found verses by figures previously unknown as poets. Fanny M. Jackson, a former slave who became one of the foremost educators of her age, contributed ‘The Black Volunteers’ … William Slade, a prominent black civil leader in wartime Washington as well as a lead servant in the White House, wrote ‘The Slave to His Star.’ ”

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