Print-Friendly Version (PDF): On Being Brought from Africa to America
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.