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Mon, 09.05.1859

First novel by a Black author published in America

Harriet Wilson statue

On this date in 1859, the first novel by a Black person was published in the United States.

"Our Nig; or Sketches from the Life of a Free Black, In a Two Story White House North, Showing that Slavery’s Shadow Falls Even There," by Harriet E. Adams Wilson, was published in Boston. She was living alone at the time of the writing, having been abandoned by her husband.

The novel was lost for over 100 years until reprinted with a critical essay by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., in 1983.

Reference:
Black First:
2,000 years of extraordinary achievement
by Jessie Carney Smith
Copyright 1994 Visible Ink Press, Detroit, MI
ISBN 0-8103-9490-1

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