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Enriching Voices: African American Contributions to North Carolina Literature

For almost two centuries, African Americans have enriched the literature of North Carolina. From Chatham County "slave poet" George Moses Horton with his The Hope of Liberty (1829) to countless poems, novelists, children's literature authors, historians, and others writing today, African Americans have deepened our understanding and appreciation of the human condition.

Black North Carolinians have faced unique and daunting obstacles in seeking freedom, equality, and opportunity. Through their writing, they have shared stories of survival and persistence. They have also celebrated individual achievement, the joys of family and community, and demonstrated faith in a better future for all Americans.

This exhibit highlights just a few of the talented Black essayists, historians, novelists, poets, and children's authors whose work is held by Wilson Library.

This exhibit was created by guest curator Gregg Moore of the Sonya Hanyes Stone Center Library and North Carolina Collection staff members Linda Jacobson, Bob Schreiner, and Doug Wait.  Special thanks go to Eileen Lewis, Robert G. Anthony, Jr., the Conservation Lab, and the Digital Production Center. 

Last updated April 22, 2021.

William L. Andrews, editor. The North Carolina Roots of African American Literature. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2006.

William L. Andrews, editor. The North Carolina Roots of African American Literature. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2006.

According to Andrews, “No other state in the American South has left a more indelible impression on African American literature before the twentieth century than North Carolina.” This edition features some of the best poetry, fiction, autobiography and essays from eight authors of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries: George Moses Horton, David Walker, Moses Roper, Lunsford Lane, Harriet Jacobs, Charles W. Chesnutt, Anna Julia Cooper, and David Bryant Fulton.


Chapman Kenton Curry Library Fund
North Carolina Collection