Tag Archives: Phillis Wheatley

Phillis Wheatley, first female black poet

Phillis Wheatley, the first known published female black poet in the United States, was born 1753 in West Africa.  In 1761, against her will she brought to New England and sold to John Wheatley of Boston.  The Wheatley’s, taking an interest in her education and her precocious nature, allowed her to learn to read and write, in which she became proficient by the age of nine.  Modelling her works after John Milton, Thomas Gray, and Alexander Pope, she began writing poetry at the age of thirteen.  Her first published poem “On the Death the Rev. Mr. George Whitefield” was published in many major cities including Boston, New York, Philadelphia and London.  Over the course of the next few years, she continued to print a number of such broadsides elegizing prominent British and colonial leaders. In 1771, at the suggestion of her doctor, she accompanied Nathalie Wheatley to London where she […]

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