This poem against the slave trade was written by the well known poet William Cowper in 1788. This version has colourful woodcuts as it was probably intended for children to read.
Members of the Committee for the Abolition of the Slave Trade were keen to encourage the writers and artists of the day to support their cause. This poem came about when anti-slavery campaigner (and writer of hymns) John Newton asked his friend William Cowper for some verses.
The poem, The Negro's Complaint, was so popular that it spread all over Britain and was sometimes put to music and sung as a ballad.
- Full title:
- The Negro's Complaint: a poem To which is added, Pity for Poor Africans [A children's book With coloured woodcuts]
- 1826 , London
- Book / Childrens book / Illustration / Image
- William Cowper
- Held by:
- British Library
- Usage terms:
- Public Domain
- Article by:
- Brycchan Carey
- Power and politics
From the mid-18th century, Africans and people of African descent – many of them former slaves – began to write down their stories. Brycchan Carey describes these writings and assesses their role in the abolition of slavery.