The Chapel Hill Historical Society


The Life and Legacy of George Moses Horton The Black Bard of North Carolina

A Talk by Scholar Dr. Trudier Harris

Readings from the Poetry of George Moses Horton by Dr. Marion Phillips

Presentation and Reception
Sunday, February 15, 2015 4:00 PM
The Chapel Hill Historical Society
Chapel Hill Public Library
100 Library Drive
Chapel Hill, NC

George Moses Horton lived on a tobacco farm in Chatham County prior to the Civil War, a slave who taught himself to read and eventually published several volumes of poetry. He walked often into Chapel Hill, where he sold farm produce and attracted the attention of students by composing acrostics on their sweethearts' names. His poetry celebrated his love for the land, explored family relationships, protested the indignity of slavery, and described the glory of freedom. Chapel Hill townspeople encouraged his poetry and supported his efforts to become a free man. He was emancipated at the end of the Civil War and moved to Philadelphia, where he continued to compose poetry and write for Sunday School publications.

Dr. Trudier Harris, former J. Carlyle Sitterson Professor of English at UNC-Chapel Hill and currently Professor of English at the University of Alabama, is a leading authority on African American literature and folklore. She has taken a special interest in promoting the writings of George Moses Horton. Dr. Harris will present an overview of his life and times and the significance of his accomplishment as the first African American to publish a book in the South.

Dr. Harris' talk will be followed by readings from the poetry of George Moses Horton by Dr. Marion Phillips, known widely for his poetry readings and performances.

Free and open to the public. Call the Chapel Hill Historical Society for information: 919-929-1793.