In the Chapel Hill, North Carolina, area, George Moses Horton achieved a local reputation for his ability to compose and dictate poetry before he could write. His poem “On Liberty and Slavery” (published in the Lancaster Gazette, 1828) was the first poem in which a slave reflected on slavery as it affected him. His first volume of poetry, The Hope of Liberty, was the first book published by an African American in the South. In 1996, Horton was inducted into North Carolina’s Literary Hall of Fame. The following year, Chatham County named him the county’s historic poet laureate and the George Moses Horton Society for the Study of African American Poetry was formed.
Allen, William G. Wheatley, Banneker, and Horton, with Selections from the Poetical Works of Wheatley and Horton. 1849. Reprint. Freeport, N.Y.: Books for Libraries Press, 1970. Contains biographical information on Horton, Phillis Wheatley, and Benjamin Banneker.
Brabham, Robin. “To the Tip-Top Belles.” CLA Journal 30 (June, 1987). Examines two poems (acrostics) by Horton.
Brawley, Benjamin. Early Negro American Writers. 1935. Reprint. Freeport, N.Y.: Books for Libraries Press, 1968. A good early study.
Cobbs, John. “Horton’s Hope of Liberty.” CLA Journal 24 (June, 1981). Discusses soaring as a unifying metaphor.
Farrison, William. “Poet for Freedom.” CLA Journal 14 (March, 1971). Discusses the protest poems.
Richmond, M. A. Bid the Vassal Soar: Interpretive Essays on the Life and Poetry of Phillis Wheatley (ca. 1753-1784) and George Moses Horton (ca. 1797-1883). Washington, D.C.: Howard University Press, 1974. An excellent study.
Walser, Richard. The Black Poet: Being the Remarkable Story (Partly Told by Himself) of George Moses Horton, a North Carolina Slave. New York: Philosophical Library, 1966. A full-length critical biography.