Phillis Wheatley

1753–1784
Phillis Wheatley

Born in the Senegal-Gambia region of West Africa, Phillis Wheatley arrived in Boston on a slave ship in 1761. When Mrs. Susanna Wheatley purchased her as a personal servant she named Phillis after the ship. After 16 months Wheatley could read and understand any part of the Bible, and she began writing poetry at age 12. She was one of the best-known poets in prenineteenth-century America; her name was a household word among literate colonists and her achievements a catalyst for the fledgling antislavery movement.

Poems

What People are Saying

"Poetry Out Loud has taught me not to give up after one mistake. Or two mistakes. Or a few mistakes. It has taught me not to sell myself short, but also to love every unique perspective I come across. People, like poetry, cannot be read once and immediately
understood."
Addi Garner
2017 WA POL Champion