Jupiter Hammon

by Kami Ashley

My Black History Month Person of the day is Jupiter Hammon. Not many people have heard of Mr. Jupiter Hammon before today, not even me, so let me tell a little about Mr. Hammon. The first known African American to publish literature, Hammon was a lifelong slave of four generations of the Lloyd family on Long Island. His parents were both slaves. His father, called Opium, had a reputation for frequent escape attempts; his mother was named Rose. Hammon was allowed to attend school, and unlike most slaves could read and write. He was a favorite servant who was a clerk in the family business, a farmhand, and an artisan. Hammon was allowed to attend school and was a fervent Christian, as were the Lloyds. His first published poem was written on Christmas Day, 1760. An Evening Thought. Salvation by Christ with Penitential Cries: Composed by Jupiter Hammon, a Negro belonging to Mr. Lloyd of Queen’s Village, on Long Island, the 25th of December, 1760 appeared as a broadside in 1761. Three other poems and three sermon essays followed. In 1786 Hammon gave a speech, An Address to the Negroes of New York, to the African Society, in which he said that while he personally had no wish to be free, he did wish others, especially “the young Negroes, were free.” On September 24, 1786, He expressed his views on slavery when he delivered his “Address to the Negroes of the State of New York”, also known as the “Hammon Address”, before the African Society. Hammon wrote the speech at age seventy-six after a lifetime of slavery. It contains his famous words, “If we should ever get to Heaven, we shall find nobody to reproach us for being black, or for being slaves.”

An Evening Thought: Salvation by Christ, with Penetential Cries
by Jupiter Hammon

Salvation comes by Christ alone,
The only Son of God;
Redemption now to every one,
That love his holy Word.

Dear Jesus, we would fly to Thee,
And leave off every Sin,
Thy tender Mercy well agree;
Salvation from our King.

Salvation comes now from the Lord,
Our victorious King.
His holy Name be well ador’d,
Salvation surely bring.

Dear Jesus, give thy Spirit now,
Thy Grace to every Nation,
That han’t the Lord to whom we bow,
The Author of Salvation.

Dear Jesus, unto Thee we cry,
Give us the Preparation;
Turn not away thy tender Eye;
We seek thy true Salvation.

Salvation comes from God we know,
The true and only One;
It’s well agreed and certain true,
He gave his only Son.

Lord, hear our penetential Cry:
Salvation from above;
It is the Lord that doth supply,
With his Redeeming Love.

Dear Jesus, by thy precious Blood,
The World Redemption have:
Salvation now comes from the Lord,
He being thy captive slave.

Dear Jesus, let the Nations cry,
And all the People say,
Salvation comes from Christ on high,
Haste on Tribunal Day.

We cry as Sinners to the Lord,
Salvation to obtain;
It is firmly fixed, his holy Word,
Ye shall not cry in vain.

Dear Jesus, unto Thee we cry,
And make our Lamentation:
O let our Prayers ascend on high;
We felt thy Salvation.

Lord, turn our dark benighted Souls;
Give us a true Motion,
And let the Hearts of all the World,
Make Christ their Salvation.

Ten Thousand Angels cry to Thee,
Yea, louder than the Ocean.
Thou art the Lord, we plainly see;
Thou art the true Salvation.

Now is the Day, excepted Time;
The Day of the Salvation;
Increase your Faith, do not repine:
Awake ye, every Nation.

Lord, unto whom now shall we go,
Or seek a safe abode?
Thou has the Word Salvation Too,
The only Son of God.

Ho! every one that hunger hath,
Or pineth after me,
Salvation be thy leading Staff,
To set the Sinner free.

Dear Jesus, unto Thee we fly;
Depart, depart from Sin,
Salvation doth at length supply,
The Glory of our King.

Come, ye Blessed of the Lord,
Salvation greatly given;
O turn your Hearts, accept the Word,
Your Souls are fit for Heaven.

Dear Jesus, we now turn to Thee,
Salvation to obtain;
Our Hearts and Souls do meet again,
To magnify thy Name.

Come, Holy Spirit, Heavenly Dove,
The Object of our Care;
Salvation doth increase our Love;
Our Hearts hath felt they fear.

Now Glory be to God on High,
Salvation high and low;
And thus the Soul on Christ rely,
To Heaven surely go.

Come, Blessed Jesus, Heavenly Dove,
Accept Repentance here;
Salvation give, with tender Love;
Let us with Angels share.Finis.

Copyright 2010 – Kami Ashley. All rights Reserved. No part of this commentary may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.

Share Button
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Black History, Kami Ashley