To kick off Black History month, we remember Phillis Wheatley, a slave child of seven or eight and sold to John and Susanna Wheatley in Boston on July 11, 1761. Her first name was apparently derived from the ship that carried her to America, The Phillis. She was the first African American to publish a book, an accomplished African-American woman of letters and First African American woman to earn a living from her writing.
Phillis’ popularity as a poet both in the United States and England ultimately brought her freedom from slavery on October 18, 1773. She even appeared before General Washington in March, 1776 for her poetry and was a strong supporter of independence during the Revolutionary War. She felt slavery to be the issue which separated whites from true heroism: whites can not “hope to find/Devine acceptance with the Almighty mind” when “they disgrace/And hold in bondage Africa’s blameless race.”
Join me Wednesday February 6 at 8:00 PM for “Conversations Of A Sistah” on “Conversations Live” as I discuss Phillis Wheatley’s accomplishments as a woman and a poet of her day.
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