Phlillis wheatley black history

“Phillis Wheatley (May 8, 1753–Dec. 5, 1784)

Phillis Wheatley, from an illustration by Scipio Moorhead

Culture Club/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Born in Africa, Phillis Wheatley came to the U.S. at age eight, where she was sold into slavery. John Wheatley, the Boston man who owned her, was impressed by Phillis’ intellect and interest in learning, and he and his wife taught her to read and write. The Wheatleys allowed Phillis time to pursue her studies, which led her to develop an interest in poetry writing. A poem she published in 1767 earned her much acclaim. Six years later, her first volume of poems was published in London, and she became known in both the U.S. and the United Kingdom. The Revolutionary War disrupted Wheatley’s writing, however, and she was not widely published after it ended.

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Phillis Wheatley Biography
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Poem By Phillis Wheatley

On Being Brought from Africa to America

‘Twas mercy brought me from my Pagan land,
Taught my benighted soul to understand
That there’s a God, that there’s a Saviour too:
Once I redemption neither sought nor knew.
Some view our sable race with scornful eye,
“Their colour is a diabolic die.”
Remember, Christians, Negros, black as Cain,
May be refin’d, and join th’ angelic train.

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