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

"I learned that I had the ability to capture the attention of an audience and evoke emotion from them. When I recited my first poem in 9th grade for a mock POL class competition, I was incredibly shy and barely audible. But eventually I grew to love sharing the emotions poems gave me."
Chiara Raimondo
2016 NY POL Champion