Some figures had complex heritage; Ada Isaacs Menken, for instance, is said to be of mixed New Orleans creole heritage (though there is admittedly some uncertainty about her ancestry, and she did not identify as Black in her public life). Olivia Ward Bush-Banks was of mixed African American and Montaukett (Montauk) ancestry. However, for all of the materials included here we have taken efforts to validate the heritage of the authors included.
While the whole books will perhaps mainly be of interest to readers with a deep interest in this period in African American poetry, many of the poets stick to certain themes, including occasional poetry, dedications to luminaries such as Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, and Paul Laurence Dunbar, and commemorations of the end of the Civil War and Emancipation.
Note: As of May 2022, several of these files need additional proofreading and formatting. Many derive from scanned images that have only been imperfectly rendered into plain text via OCR software.