PHILLIS WHEATLEY (1753? - 1784) -- A rare
signed 1st edition (1773) of "Poems on Various
Subjects, Religious and Moral" (1773), the first book written by an
African American. Wheatley's signature bleeds
through on the right hand side. (Note the contemporary ink signature of Henry
Pelham at upper right. Pelham accomplished the very first engraving of the
Boston Massacre in 1770, and it is also known that Phillis
Wheatley penned a poem on that momentous event although an original copy has
yet to be discovered)
ZORA NEALE HURSTON (1891-1960) -- Writer, poet, anthropologist;
an original signed poem titled: To Richmond Barthe'
found in the acclaimed black sculptor's autograph book in 1935 during the
LANGSTON HUGHES (1902-1967) - American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and
PAUL LAURENCE DUNBAR (1872-1906) - A
handwritten and signed "fair copy" of Dunbar's most famous poem
"Life" which was published in three of his earliest books,
"Oak and Ivy" (1893), "Majors and Minors" (c. 1895), and
"Lyrics of Lowly Life" (1896). Above, a recently-discovered
unpublished snapshot of the young poet with his wife, Alice.
FIRST NOVEL BY AN AFRICAN AMERICAN
Fourth and final version (1867) with four additional chapters
bringing the story through the Civil War.
William Wells Brown (1815-1884) based his novel on the rumors of
Thomas Jefferson's dalliance with slave Sally Hemings,
providing a fictional account of Hemings and their
daughters and granddaughters. Published in England in 1853 as "Clotel", there was no American edition of the first
version. Brown rewrote the book during the Civil War renaming it "Clotelle; a Tale of the Southern States" with no
mention of Jefferson. Any edition is exceedingly scarce.
COPY OF PERHAPS COUNTEE CULLEN'S MOST FAMOUS POEM “YET DO I MARVEL”- In 1923, Cullen
(1903-1946) wrote the above poem, “Yet Do I Marvel,” which was first
published the following year in the Century Magazine (November, 1924).
Carl Van Vechten once remarked that one of Cullen's
lines was probably the most repeated of all contemporary black poets: “Yet
do I marvel at this curious thing:/To make a poet black, and bid him sing!”
Essentially an emotional, lyrical poet, Cullen once explained: “Most
things I write I do for the sheer love of the music in them.” Cullen also
published collections of his poetry such as Color (1925), Copper
Sun (1927); he was working on another book of his favorite poems when he
died in 1946. His work was embraced by black critics and the Black Community
alike, and he became a major figure in the Harlem Renaissance.
(1964) BY AMIRI BARAKA (LEROI JONES)-- PRODUCER EDWARD
PARONE'S ORIGINAL SIGNED SCRIPT. With this controversial work, Baraka
introduced the black revolutionary play to theater audiences. He won an Obie, an off-Broadway award given by the Village Voice
newspaper, for Dutchman, that brought Baraka
notoriety. Henceforth, black actors would be able to perform in roles that not
only affirmed blackness, but portrayed black political militancy.
Amiri Baraka (1934-), American poet, playwright, and political activist, was
born in Newark, N.J., as LeRoi Jones, and studied
at both Rutgers and Howard Universities (B.A., 1954). He gained fame in 1964
when four of his plays (Dutchman, The Toilet, The Baptism, and The
Slave) were produced off-Broadway in New York City. A provocative
political analyst, he has written many works that express a strident anger
toward the racism of mainstream white American society.
ALICE WALKER--A SIGNED FIRST EDITION OF "THE COLOR
PURPLE." - African American essayist, writer, poet, teacher and
activist. Her notable 1983 novel chronicles in letter-form the struggle of a
fictional black woman, Celie, from rural Georgia in
the early 20th century. Walker won the Pulitzer Prize and established her as
a major writer. In 1985, a motion picture produced
by Steven Spielberg based on the novel was
released to wide audiences and significant acclaim.
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