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Collection Number: 04799-z

Collection Title: George Moses Horton Poem, 1856.

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Size 2 items
Abstract An original poem entitled "Departing Love" by George Moses Horton, a Chatham County, N.C., slave. The poem was commissioned by the Reverend Henry A. Dixon of Chapel Hill, N.C., for his bride to be, Martha Sugg. A contemporary transcription, dated 1 August 1856, by the recipient, Martha Sugg Dixon, is also included.
Creator Horton, George Moses, 1798?-circa 1880.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
Original manuscript in vault storage. Researchers wishing to examine the original must receive permission from the senior staff member on duty. Retrieval may require one working day.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the George Moses Horton Poem #4799-z, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Purchased from Swann Galleries in April 1996 (Acc. 96030).
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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George Moses Horton (circa 1797-circa1883) was a Chatham County, N.C., slave who taught himself to read and compose poetry. By the age of 20, he began visiting the University of North Carolina and selling to the students acrostic love poems based on the names of their girlfriends. His literary efforts were encouraged by a number of well-placed individuals, including the novelist Caroline Lee Hentz, North Carolina Governor and later University President David L. Swain, and newspaperman Horace Greeley.

Hentz helped Horton publish his first work, "Liberty and Slavery," in the Lancaster [Mass.] Gazette on 8 April 1829. This was the first known poem written by a slave protesting his status. Horton's "The Hope of Liberty," also published in 1829, was the first publication in the South by an African American.

[Adapted from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography. For further information, see The Black Poet by Richard Walser (1966).]

OTHER HORTON HOLDINGS IN THE SOUTHERN HISTORICAL COLLECTION

Additional Horton manuscripts can be found in the following collections:

From the Pettigrew Family Papers (#592), seven poems, 1836 and undated (folder 568):

"The Emigrant Girl"

"On Ghosts"

An acrostic (Doctrine Davenport) "Mr. Davenport's address to his lady"

An acrostic (Mary M. Davenport) "His lady's reply"

An acrostic (Mary Pettigrew Davenport) "To their little daughter"

"The Pleasures of a College Life"

An acrostic (Julia Shepard) "On the pleasures of beauty"

From the Gillespie and Wright Family Papers (#275), two acrostics on the same sheet, undated (folder 17):

"Lo Twilight memorys sweet and pleasing beam"

"Joy may revive in sorrows lonely vale"

From the David L. Swain Papers (#706), three letters, 1844, 1853, and undated:

To: Gov. Swain from George M. Horton of colour, 3 September 1844

To: [Horace Greely] from George M. Horton of colour, 11 September 1853

To: Gov. Swain from George M. Horton, poet, [undated]

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An original poem entitled "Departing Love" by George Moses Horton, a Chatham County, N.C., slave. The poem was commissioned by the Reverend Henry A. Dixon of Chapel Hill, N.C., for his bride to be, Martha Sugg. A contemporary transcription, dated 1 August 1856, by the recipient, Martha Sugg Dixon, is also included.

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Processing Information

Processed by: Tim Pyatt, April 1996

Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008

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