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Phillis Wheatley

Phillis Wheatley
Posted By: Reggie Culpepper on February 03, 2009

Born c. 1760 possibly in Senegal, Africa. Wheatley was sold in slavery to the John Wheatley family of Boston, Massachusetts in 1761. The family educated her, even teaching her Latin and Greek, and by the age of 13 she was composing poems so sophisticated that many people charged she could not have written them.



In 1778, she was sent to London with the Wheatley's son, where she was received in society and published her first volume of poems. After returning to Boston, she was freed, married, and had three children, none of whom survived her. A collection of her poetry and prose, Memoirs and Poems of Phillis Wheatley, was printed in 1834. Although her poems are now regarded as generally derivative in their Neoclassical manner, they were often cited by those pointing out that African-Americans needed only to be educated in order to become the equal of their fellow Americans.
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