Essay Sample Dedicated to Voices in Black America: Douglass and Hammon

Published: 2022-09-01
Essay Sample Dedicated to Voices in Black America: Douglass and Hammon
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Race Civil rights American literature
Pages: 3
Wordcount: 615 words
6 min read

The 17th and 18th centuries in America were plagued by mass immigration, civil war and the struggle for equality. Frederic Douglass and Jupiter Hammon were some of the Black writers who engaged America at the time. Hammon never denied being a slave and expresses the fact openly in his essay 'An Address to the Negroes in the State of New-York (1787)'. On the other hand, Hammon discusses more about America's priorities while paying great attention to governance.

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Hammon is perhaps the more affective of the two owing to his specific address to a particular audience. In essence, his essay is directed to Black America as he states that, "I take the liberty to dedicate an address to my poor brethren..." (Hammon, 1787). Hammon's' essay is directed to the Black people who could read at the time. Another reason why his essay is more affective is that he is specific in his use of symbolism. On the other hand, the effect the audience has on Douglass' writing is one of activism. He seems to generally be advocating for a better America.

The two authors use various literally techniques to put their points across. Douglass uses first person speech for his entire address. The use of first person address gives the readers a feeling of a discussion given on a one-on-one basis. For this reason, the essay becomes more engaging to the reader and the writer's emotions are easily felt. He starts, "When I am writing to you with the design to say something..." (Hammon, 1787). The following first line to the book starts like an informal letter to a long lost friend. The use of first person speech increases his effect on the audience. Another literary device employed by Hammon is his use of significant symbolism. Hammon describes different phenomena like the description he gives on heaven and hell by saying that there exists no color differences neither in heaven or hell. The use of symbolism keeps the audience engaged to his address. On the other hand, Douglass uses personification to address and entire nation. He starts, "What on earth is the matter with the American Government and people?"(Douglass, 1861).His starting question addresses America as an entity. The rest of his essay personifies the acts of a country as ones done by a collective whole entity as well.

Hammon and Douglass' style have specific goals in the address of their audiences. In essence, Hammond is observed to be speaking to a specific group of people. He is [Hammon] probably more affective due to his prophetic speech. He uses language to sound like a prophet preaching hope, courage and resilience to his counterparts. In the same way, Hammon uses excerpts from the Bible to cement his credibility and to reinforce his message to fellow black-American Christians. He encourages his counterparts to learn to read and write to help them read the Bible-he considers the Bible his sole source of inspiration. On the other hand, Douglass' audience is America. Although his address is general in nature, he tries to capture issues that every America reader at the time could relate to. His address of civil wars and discrimination shows that he is trying to a larger audience than Hammon.

Both authors capture their motif for writing with significant specificity. For this reason, both addresses are clear and do not shy away from their motives. In reading the addresses, one is able to clearly understand the effect each author had in the revolutions that were to follow.


Douglass. F. (1861). Fighting rebels with one hand. New York: Free Press.

Hammon, J. (1787). An address to the Negroes in the state of New-York. New-York: Printed by Carroll and Patterson no. 32, Maiden-Lane.

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