Phillis Wheatley Poems

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Phillis Wheatley
Phillis Wheatley, as illustrated by Scipio Moorhead in the Frontispiece to her book Poems on Various Subjects.Phillis Wheatley (1753 December 5, 1784) was the first published African American poet whose writings helped create the genre of African American literature. She was born in Gambia, Africa, and a slave at age seven. She was purchased by the Boston Wheatley family, who taught her to read and write, and helped encouraged her poetry. The 1773 publication of Wheatley's Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, brought her fame, with dignitaries such as George Washington praising her work. Wheatley also toured England and was praised in a poem by fellow African American poet Jupiter Hammon. Wheatley was emancipated by her owners after her poetic success, but stayed with the Wheatley family until the death of her former master and the breakup of his family. She then married a free black man, who soon left her. She died in poverty in 1884 while working on a second book of poetry, which has now been lost. Early years Born in what is the modern day Senegal which was Gambia, Africa, Wheatley was captured by Africans, named for the slave ship Phillis, and sold into slavery at the age of 7. She was brought to Boston, Massachusetts on July 11, 1761, where John Wheatley purchased her and where she adopted the Christian faith. John Wheatley was a prominent Boston tailor and merchant. Susannah Wheatley was an ardent Christian and admirer of George Whitefield. Phillis was a frail child between seven and eight years of age and was chosen to be a domestic servant and companion to Mrs. Wheatley in her later years.

on being brought from africa to america
'Twas mercy brought me from my Pagan land,
Taught my benighted soul to understand
Tha... [read poem]
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