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Zachary McLeod Hutchins
Colorado State University (Fort Collins, CO 80521-2807)
Newspaper Reading and Early American Narratives of Slavery

An online database of early American newspaper references to slavery and a book-length study of the impact of early newspaper accounts on the development of American slave narratives.

The first North American slave narratives, written by Briton Hammon and Olaudah Equiano, were not published until the late eighteenth century, but stories of enslaved African Americans circulated in colonial newspapers long before those accounts were published. Before Equiano will survey slave-for-sale advertisements, advertisements for runaways, accounts of ships sunk during the Middle Passage, and other textual fragments related to slavery in 6,000 issues of ten colonial American newspapers published before 1760, a project of unprecedented scope. This book will identify rhetorical patterns in newspaper reports of African American experience and identity, providing a linguistic baseline against which the modulations and flourishes of Equiano and later slave narratives can be measured. Transcriptions of the materials related to slavery in these newspapers will subsequently be published in a searchable database accessible to the general public.

[Media coverage]

Project fields:
African American History; American Literature; American Studies

Fellowships for University Teachers

Research Programs

$33,600 (approved)
$33,600 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2016 – 8/31/2016