I've decided a good use of this space is to try to collect online the sources I've used in my current book project (tentatively entitled Black Romanticism: Early African American Poetry and the Spirit of the Age). My hope is that these materials might attract attention from other readers and researchers.
I should also say that this project has substantially made possible by digital resources which have appeared in the 12 years since I first began work on this subject. Print resources like Joan Sherman's anthology African American Poetry of the Nineteenth Century hinted at vast troves of material only available in special collections. These materials are increasingly easy to access because of digitization which has made my work possible absent of significant research funding.
I'd like here to pay forward the work of recovery-oriented scholars (like Sherman) of the 70's, 80's, and 90's, as well as the benefits I've accrued from new technologies and digital humanities projects of various sorts.
In the first of these, I'd like to spotlight someone much younger than me, Constance Chia, a recent graduate of UNC Chapel Hill, who for her undergraduate honors thesis made available George Moses Horton's "Address to Collegiates of the University of N.C.: The Stream of Liberty and Science" (1859). This speech is a crucial document, transcribed by the students as it was delivered by Horton, who spent most of his life in enslaved and working on campus. It gives an idea of his perspective on a wide range of philosophical, social, and local issues, in a kind of extraordinarily weird and extemporaneous rhetorical style.
The transcription has long only been available in a the difficult-to-read original manuscript, and in recent years circulated as a pdf, but Chia has provided a typescript, as well as a rich, contextualizing introduction. It's a really useful resource and I hope it gets more attention. I'll say more about the speech itself sometime, but for now, check out a fantastic piece of undergraduate research!