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Professor Bynum recently published Reading Pleasures (2023) with the University of Illinois Press. Tanner's archive includes letters from her correspondence with Phillis Wheatley. "Wheatley’s letters," Bynum writes, "reveal a friendship that asks us to consider what pleasure and friendship might look like to two enslaved women in New England." Reading Pleasures explores such pleasures:


"In the early United States, a Black person committed an act of resistance simply by reading and writing. Yet we overlook that these activities also brought pleasure. Tara A. Bynum tells the compelling stories of four early American writers who expressed feeling good despite living while enslaved or only nominally free. The poet Phillis Wheatley delights in writing letters to a friend. Ministers John Marrant and James Albert Ukawsaw Gronniosaw memorialize their love for God. David Walker’s pamphlets ask Black Americans to claim their victory over slavery. Together, their writings reflect the joyous, if messy, humanity inside each of them. This proof of a thriving interior self in pursuit of good feeling forces us to reckon with the fact that Black lives do matter."

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