Though assertions that Phillis Wheatley was America’s first published African-American poet continue to surface, that assertion has been discredited for many years. In fact, a slave by the name of Jupiter Hammon is credited with that title.
Jupiter Hammon’s first published work, an 88-line broadside, came out in Hartford, Connecticut in 1760—when Phillis was only seven years old and ten years prior to her first broadside publication, entitled “Elegy on the death of Whitefield.”
Born a slave on the Henry Lloyd Manor on Lloyd Neck, on Long Island in New York, Hammon (October 7, 1711 – ca. 1790) was educated in the household and became a trusted bookkeeper for the mercantile family, whose commercial interests spread from Boston to the West Indies and from Connecticut to London. He was also a preacher among fellow slaves.