OYSTER BAY - A poem attributed to America's first African-American poet Jupiter Hammon has been discovered.
It would be the sixth poem written by Hammon, who was a slave with the Lloyd family of Huntington in the 1700s.
The poem was transcribed by a member the Townsend family of Oyster Bay. It was discovered tucked away in the Townsend papers at the New York Historical Society.
The researcher who found the poem, Claire Bellerjeau, says the untitled three-page poem is a tribute to Anne Hutchinson, a Puritan woman who advocated for civil liberty and religious freedom in the American colonies. Bellerjeau used to volunteer at Raynham Hall and says she made the discovery while researching another story.
Historians agree the poem is an important literary and historical find. “It's a wonderful statement about his scholarly abilities and his thoughtfulness as a writer," said Bellerjeau.
The Oyster Bay Historical Society will feature a lecture by Bellerjeau on the discovery of the Jupiter Hammon poem and its significance on March 29.