recognizing October 17, 2021, As National Black Poetry Day

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Senate Resolution No. 478


RECOGNIZING October 17, 2021, as National Black
Poetry Day

WHEREAS, It is the sense of this Legislative Body, in keeping with
its time-honored traditions, to recognize and pay tribute to those who
seek to preserve and celebrate the African-American heritage of our
State and Nation; and

WHEREAS, This Legislative Body is justly proud to recognize Sunday,
October 17, 2021, as National Black Poetry Day; and

WHEREAS, Established in 1985, National Black Poetry Day is
celebrated annually on October 17th, the birthdate of renowned poet,
writer and preacher Jupiter Hammon, to celebrate not only his work as
the first published Black poet in America and the contributions of Black
poets thereafter, but to commemorate the importance of Black heritage
and literacy; and

WHEREAS, Today, we celebrate this day to pay respect to the
significance of Black voices throughout history, both past and present,
and to recognize the indelible mark Black poets have made on the arts of
this State and Nation, as well as to show appreciation for their effect
on the world; and

WHEREAS, Jupiter Hammon was born into slavery on October 17, 1711,
at the Lloyd Manor on Long Island, which is now known as Lloyd Harbor,
New York; with the facts of his personal life very limited, it is
thought he was the son of Opium and Rose, the first set of male and
female slaves to serve the Lloyd family; and

WHEREAS, In his early years, Jupiter Hammon was enslaved by Henry
Lloyd, during which time he was heavily influenced by the Great
Awakening, a major religious revival of the time, and became a devout
Christian; and

WHEREAS, Jupiter Hammon attended school where he learned to read and
write, and went on to work alongside Henry as a bookkeeper and
negotiator for the family's business; he served the Lloyd family his
entire life, working under four generations of the family masters; and

WHEREAS, Overcoming inconceivable adversity, this extraordinary man
published his first poem, "An Evening Thought. Salvation by Christ with
Penitential Cries: Composed by Jupiter Hammon, a Negro belonging to Mr.
Lloyd of Queen's Village, on Long Island, the 25th of December, 1760,"
as a broadside in 1761; and

WHEREAS, Eighteen years passed before the publication of his second
work, "An Address to Miss Phillis Wheatley"; in this poem, Jupiter
Hammon addresses a series of quatrains with accompanying Bible verses to
Wheatley, the most prominent African-American poet of the time; in 1782,
he published "A Poem for Children with Thoughts on Death"; and

WHEREAS, After the death of Henry Lloyd in 1763, Jupiter Hammon
remained enslaved by Lloyd's son, Joseph, with whom he moved to
Connecticut; there, he became a leader in the African-American community
and attended abolitionist and Revolutionary War societies; and

WHEREAS, At the inaugural meeting of the Spartan Project of the
African Society of New York City on September 24, 1786, Jupiter Hammon
delivered his most famous sermon, "Address to the Negroes of the State
of New York," at the age of 76 after a lifetime of slavery; his writing
was reprinted by several abolitionist societies, including the New York
Quakers and the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of
Slavery; and

WHEREAS, Widely considered the founder of African-American
literature, Jupiter Hammon's date of death is unknown, although he is
believed to have died sometime around 1806; he is likely buried in an
unmarked grave on what was once the Lloyd property and is now Caumsett
State Historic Park Preserve in Long Island, New York; and

WHEREAS, Throughout the course of American history, Black poets and
writers have used their great talents to share the richness of the
African-American experience and to develop a uniquely American style of
literature enjoyed throughout the world; on October 17, 2021, we honor
Jupiter Hammon, a true pioneer of African-American poetry, along with
today's artists who continue his legacy; and

WHEREAS, Events which provide a means of preserving a part of our
rich American past and which contribute to the community in such noble
endeavors, are held in the highest regard by this Legislative Body; now,
therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That this Legislative Body pause in its deliberations to
recognize October 17, 2021, as National Black Poetry Day; and be it

RESOLVED, That a copy of this Resolution, suitably engrossed, be
transmitted to Preservation Long Island.


  • 10 / Mar / 2021
  • 16 / Mar / 2021
  • 16 / Mar / 2021

Resolution Details

Law Section:
Resolutions, Legislative


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