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African-American Poetry: 1760-1900 provides access to the full text of the works of nearly 3,000 poems by 54 African-American poets of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
The database includes the poems of such well-known figures as Paul Laurence Dunbar and Phillis Wheatley and the verse of many lesser-known poets whose works may only be found in anthologies or private libraries. Most of the poets in the database were not acknowledged during their lifetimes, but only granted recognition posthumously.
Covering a wide range of topics from slavery and abolition to love and death, this collection provides a unique portrait of early America through the reflections of African-American poets during the 18th and 19th centuries. It contains a rich variety of poetic styles and types including elegies, odes, ditties, hymns, and sonnets.
Generally, the policy has been to use first editions whenever possible; later editions were selected if they were more inclusive. Where poems appeared in their original dialect in an earlier edition and standardized in a later edition, both forms have been included for comparison purposes. Poems originally published in periodicals have also been included. Textual apparatus and front matter to the poems are generally omitted, except the poet's own notes, which are included in the database.
The contents are based upon the bibliography of William French et al, Afro-American Poetry and Drama, 1760-1975: A Guide to Information Sources (Gale Research, 1979).