African-American Literature: The Literature of Slavery -Intro

The Vernacular Tradition was a great way to start the course. We were able to analyze the language used in the various forms of oratory that helped to shape and became a part of the Black literary journey. The Literature of Slavery however delves into the beginning of Black literary exploration in America. There is a paradox though; isn’t there? Slavery is not synonymous with art or literature.

*How is that Black literature came to exist within such an oppressive system of control and manipulation?

*The simple answer would be that literature was born of the oppression, but what could have been the guiding force behind the words of the poets, speakers and writers of this period? Freedom or Christianity?


Who produced the first work of African-American prose?

Why was it important that early poets write using meter?

The ‘attack’ on Phyllis Wheatley’s poetry began early. In the 18th century what woman writer refuted Wheatley’s “On Being” and essentially adds to the future movement towards negritude and black empowerment?

What African American writer used an allusion to the constitution to create his “Appeal”?

How would you discuss the inherent conflict in the foundation of America? A country that was built on the desire for freedom and justice, but was also built on a foundation of mistreatment and inequality?

What Spanish missionary basically began the institution of slavery in the Americas?

Why was it critical to slavemasters to divest Africans of their heritage? How can this be used to analyze the current lack of interest in African history by young Blacks?

Virginia considered two options in response to Nat Turner. They understood that slavery was, in the words of Gil Scott Heron, “Not some happy.. party.” What were the two options and they did what in response to Nat Turner’s insurrection?

Who was the earliest known female slave to author her own narrative?

Why is Phyllis Wheatley the most important African American Writer of the Literature of Slavery era?

When analyzing “On Being Brought from Africa to America” what line length is the poem using? Why is the poem written using this meter? What is the poem about?

In George Moses Horton’s “Myself” he uses two different line lengths. Why and what is the poem possibly addressing?