Phillis Wheatly Poet. By: Olivia Osby. Poetry.
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By: Olivia Osby
Phillis was the nation’s first well-known black author.Phillis’s poetry appeared in newspapers, magazines, and books. When Phillis came to America in 1761 a small amount of people would have guessed she was going to be a famous author. George Washington loved her poetry. He read it in the newspaper. The poem that made her famous was a poem about a dead pope.
African people were kidnapped from their homelands to sell to Americans. The journey was harsh. The captives would spend practically every hour in a dark and nasty hold. Usually given rice and water to eat, it was easy to understand why poor Phillis was in bad health when she reached Boston.
Phillis arrived at Boston harbor in the hold of a cargo ship. Phillis was one of seventy five people who had been kept inside a ship for several months while she crossed the Atlantic Ocean.
The Wheatly family bought Phillis to help Mrs. Wheatly, but they started to like her and treated her like family. They thought she was smart and taught her to read and write. They emancipated her. Then she started writing poems. She wrote her first poem when she was thirteen.
On Being Brought from Africa to America
Twas mercy brought me from my Pagan land,
Taught my benighted soul to understand
That there's a God, that there's a Saviour too:
Once I redemption neither sought nor knew.
Some view our sable race with scornful eye,
"Their colour is a diabolic die.”
Remember, Christians, Negro's, black as Cain,
May be refin'd, and join th' angelic train.
Phillis Wheatly is important because she took a little step toward racial and women’s equality by being the first black woman to have her writings published. No one listened to black women and they especially would not read their writing, but when George Washington thought Phillis’s poems were great it changed their opinion.
A book called Phillis Wheatly: Poet By : Victoria Sherrow