DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.
Phillis Wheatley, On Being Brought from Africa to America (1773)


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Context: Phillis Wheatley (1753-1784) was the first published African American woman writer. Like countless people of African descent, she was kidnapped in West Africa, sold into slavery and brought to North America. Her enslavers were the Wheatley family based in Boston, MA who allowed her to be educated. Phillis Wheatley was fluent in English, Greek and Latin. In 1773, her first book of poems received critical acclaim in both the American colonies and England. She was shortly manumitted thereafter on the death of her slaveholder John Wheatley. As a free person, Phillis Wheatley married and had three children and her work was lauded by abolitionists on both sides of the Atlantic. 



'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, ChristiansNegros, black as Cain,
May be refin'd, and join th' angelic train.
Edited by: Professor Prithi Kanakamedala
DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.