Phillis Wheatley

ca. 1753-1784 Edited by Debra Michals, PhD | 2015

Despite spending much of her life enslaved, Phillis Wheatley was the first African American and second woman (after Anne Bradstreet) to publish a book of poems.

Born around 1753 in Gambia, Africa, Wheatley was captured by slave traders and brought to America in 1761. Upon arrival, she was sold to the Wheatley family in Boston, Massachusetts. Her first name Phillis was derived from the ship that brought her to America, “the Phillis.”

The Wheatley family educated her and within sixteen months of her arrival in America she could read the Bible, Greek and Latin classics, and British literature. She also studied astronomy and geography. At age fourteen, Wheatley began to write poetry, publishing her first poem in 1767. FOR MORE

See the NATIONAL WOMEN’S HISTORY MUSEUM

Photo Credit: app.blacklivingknowledge.com

phillis wheatley, slavery, WOMENS LIVES

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