Monday, October 17, 2016

Literary Lights

Today marks the birthday of several literary lights including a man born into slavery and one of Marilyn Monroe's husbands.

Jupiter Hammon was born into slavery in New York state Oct. 17, 1711. He obtained an education and became a writer of poetry and sermons, although he remained enslaved. His poem An Evening Thought: Salvation by Christ with Penitential Ties is the first published poem by an African American, although it isn't the first one written.

The 88-line An Evening Thought was printed in a broadside newspaper in December of 1760. There isn't much written on the man himself, but his work can be found at the Poetry Foundation's website. Hammond died around 1806.

Playwright Arthur Miller's birthday was also October 17. He was born in 1915 in New York and began writing plays as a young man.

Miller was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Death of a Salesman and also a Tony Award for The Crucible. Miller was married to Marilyn Monroe and also penned a play based on that period of his life. Miller died in 2005.

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