Dormitory at Chapel Hill Renamed to Honor a Black Slave

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has renamed a dormitory on its South Campus in honor of George Moses Horton. Horton, who lived from 1797 to 1883, was a black slave who resided eight miles from the university campus. On weekends, his master sent Horton on foot to the Chapel Hill campus to sell produce. Horton would also sell poems about love to students for 25 cents. Evidently the students would in turn recite the poems to their boyfriends or girlfriends and present them as their own sentiments of affection. Horton would receive a bonus of 25 cents for working a particular sweetheart’s name into the verse.

A collection of Horton’s love poems was published in a book entitled The Hope of Liberty. It is believed to be the first book published by a black author from the South.