How did the abolition of slavery impact African American literature?

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The abolition of slavery had a large impact on the thoughts and writings of African Americans.  On one hand, the search for definition and identity in consciousness became a large and critical concern for Black thinkers.  When the weight of slavery had been lifted, the question became how can people of color use their freedom to better understand who they are and how they fit in American society?  This became a driving force behind the writings of the time period.  Thinkers like Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois were fairly influential in being two of the leading writers who became occupied with life after slavery for the Black individual in America, a theme that would be picked up by subsequent writers who sought the merging of freedom and direction in a world after slavery.

mkcapen1 | Student

The abolition of slavery was the first time that African American writers were read by a wide spread audience.  It was also the first time that a large white audience was able to see the gifts of the African American abolitionist’s ability to write.  African American writers were able to advocate against the cruelty of slavery.

Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey was a good writer and speech maker.  He had been a slave and he could give voice to the people.

"that the children of slave women shall in all cases follow the condition of their mothers"