Certainly, Phillis did seek and secure her freedom. Despite spending much of her life enslaved, Phillis Wheatley was the first African American and second woman (after Anne Bradstreet) to publish a book of poems. When her book of poems was published in Aldgate in 1773, Phillis became the first known African American woman to see her book in print. Readers will learn about her fascinating life as a slave, poet, and author in this engaging biography. Phillis Wheatley (1753–84) was the first African American to publish a book of poetry. Grenville Sharp Esqr... attended me to the Tower & Show'd the Lions, Panthers, Tigers, &c. the Horse Armoury, small Armoury, the Crowns, Sceptres, Diadems, the Font for christening the Royal Family. Struck by Phillis' extraordinary precociousness, the Wheatleys provided her with an education that was unusual for a woman of the time and astonishing for a slave. Phillis Wheatley: The Inspiring Life Story Of The American Poet, by Robin S. Doak. Phillis (now 20) and Nathaniel Wheatley travelled to London, arriving on 17 June 1773, just as the publicity campaign for Poems on various subjects, religious and moral was getting underway in the London press. This book is aimed at middle grade to high school readers and it provides context for the life of Phillis Wheatley, a poet whose short life notwithstanding is a major figure in late colonial literature and in African American studies. During her six week stay Phillis met many individuals from high society, including Benjamin Franklin and the Lord Mayor of London. In 1773, Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral became the first book of poetry by an African-American author to be published. Her last years were characterised by struggle and loss as the couple fell into poverty and endured the loss of two infants. Phillis and Nathaniel Wheatley sailed to England in 1773. And can I then but pray That same year, Phillis and Nathaniel Wheatley, John’s son, went to London for health reasons, as well as because Susannah believed she was more likely to publish her poems while in London. Brought to the US as a slave, Phillis showed such an aptitude for language that her owners eventually granted her her freedom. Slavery: Phillis Wheatley. The work of a lifetime is exactly what Honoree Jeffers, poet extraordinaire of her time, has accomplished in The Age of Phillis, a poetry book that gentles to the page the life and times of Phillis Wheatley, America's first published Black woman poet. East End Women's Museum CIC is a registered Community Interest Company. With Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral (1773), Phillis Wheatley (1753?-1784) became the first English-speaking person of African descent to publish a book and only the second woman-of any race or background- to do so in America. Born in Africa in 1753, Phillis Wheatley was kidnapped at the age of seven and sold into slavery. Although most slaves had no opportunity for an education, within two years of Wheatley's purchase in 1761, she had learned to read and begun to write poetry. We’ll be in touch soon about our exciting events, exhibitions and new building project. Phillis Wheatley, the First African American Published Book of Poetry September 1, 1773 Soon after she returned home, Wheatley was given her freedom. You also have the option to opt-out of these cookies. The Trials of Phillis Wheatley: America's First Black Poet and Her Encounters With the Founding Fathers Basic Civitas Books, 2003; Abcarian, Richard and Marvin Klotz. Bell agreed to publish her book, with Phillis receiving half of the sales. Statement of Poetic Research—”Phillis Wheatley’s Word” by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers. Visited London for six weeks in 1773 with owners’ son. A book of Wheatley’s poems was commissioned by Susanna Wheatley to be published in England; Wheatley was tested by eighteen men to ensure she could have written the poems in this volume, Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral (1773). Elegant lines… the style and manner exhibit a striking proof of your great poetical talents. Most of Phillis' poetry is concerned with Christian themes, but she makes repeated references to her African identity, and subtly reminds readers about what she had endured. In 1773, she became the first African American to have a book of poetry published. ca. Sign up to our beguiling newsletter to receive news, invitations to events and special offers!By way of thanks for signing up, we’ll send you a 30% coupon code, which you can use on your first order. The Trials of Phillis Wheatley: America's First Black Poet and Her Encounters with the Founding… by Henry Louis Gates Jr. Phillis wrote another book of poetry but couldn't afford to publish it and was unable to find patrons to support her. This was a significant meeting, as Granville Sharp was an abolitionist campaigner who had been instrumental in the success of the Somersett case just the previous year. After failing to find a publisher in the colonies, Selina Hastings, the countess […] 0 June 4, 2013 Such, such my case. Sold into a slavery in West Africa at the age of around seven, she was taken to North America where she served the Wheatley family of Boston. When her book of poems was published in Aldgate in 1773, Phillis became the first known African American woman to see her book in print. Thanks for subscribing! In 1773, Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral became the first book of poetry by an African-American author to be published. 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