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Concentrating on such poets as Phillis Wheatley, Jupiter Hammon, Lucy Terry, and George Moses Horton, examines significant African American literary, social, and political texts produced through 1865. Special attention to narrative accounts of enslavement and freedom by Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, and Olaudah Equiano; political writings and orations of David Walker and Sojourner Truth; fiction of Harriet Wilson and William Wells Brown; and nonwritten cultural artifacts such as slave songs and spirituals.