Phyllis Wheatley

Phillis Wheatley was the first US slave to publish a book of poems. Born in Africa in about 1753 and shipped as an 8 year old child to the Boston Slave Market, she was purchased by John Wheatley to be a personal servant for his wife, Susanna.

Phillis (who took her master's name, as was then customary) showed early signs of remarkable intelligence; she was encouraged by Susanna and her two daughters to learn to read and to study Theology, English, Latin, Greek  and Ancient History. She wrote her first published poem at the age of 13.


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