Lucy Terry Prince was a renowned 18th-century orator who is also the first known African-American poet.
Poet Lucy Terry Prince was born in West Africa in the early half of the 18th century. Captured by slave traders when she was a young girl, she was brought to America and eventually became a part of the Wells household in Deerfield, Massachusetts. In 1746, Prince composed the poem “Bars Fight,” the earliest known piece of literature created by an African American.
by Lucy Terry Prince
August, twas the twenty-fifth,
Seventeen houndred forty-six,
The Indians did in ambush lay,
Some very valiant men to slay
Twas nigh unto Sam Dickinson’s mill,
The Indians there five men did kill.
The names of whom I’ll not leave out,
Samuel Allen like a hero foute,
And though he was so brave and bold,
His face no more shall we behold.
Eleazer Hawks was killed outright,
Before he had time to fight,
Before he did the Indians see,
Was shot and killed immediately.
Oliver Amsden he was slain,
Which caused his friends much grief pain.
Simeon Amsden they found dead
Not many rods from Oliver’s head.
Adonijah Gillett, we do hear,
Did lose his life which was so dear.
John Sadler fled across the water,
And thus escaped the dreadful slaughter.
Eunice Allen see the Indians comeing
And hoped to save herself by running:
And had not her petticoats stopt her,
The awful creatures had not cotched her,
Not tommyhawked her on the head,
And left her on the ground for dead.
Young Samuel Allen, Oh! lack-a-day!
Was taken and carried to Canada.