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Phillis Wheatley
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Poet
    (circa 1753-December 5, 1784)
    Born in Senegal
    Kidnapped by slave traders and shipped to America (1761)
    Named after the ship that transported her to America
    Owned by John and Susannah Wheatley of Boston
    Wrote ‘To the King's Most Excellent Majesty’ (1768), ‘Poems on Various Subjects: Religious and Moral’ (1773), ‘An Hymn to the Evening’, ‘To His Excellency, General Washington’ (1776), ‘On being Brought from Africa to America’, and several others
    Died in Boston, Massachusetts, United States
    It's unknown which specific modern-day country she was born in.
    Her second volume of poetry was forever lost because no publisher was interested in it.
    Her tombstone had no inscription.
    She was sold to slavery at the age of 8.
    She was the first known African-American poet.
    Women during her lifetime had to struggle a lot in order to get a decent reputation. However, slaves had an even bigger struggle for reputation.
    Her owners, particularly her mistress, acknowledged her intelligence and took great risks educating her and even raised her as their own daughter.
    She was a proud American patriot who supported its independence.
    Her writing style was so good that she even had to defend her works in court (1772).
    She created a genre known as African-American literature.
    African-American poet Jupiter Hammon wrote a poem to her (1778).
    Two of her children by her husband, a free black grocer named John Peters, died in infancy.
    She died in poverty while giving birth to her third child.
    She is considered as one of the 100 Greatest African-Americans by Molefi Kete Asante (2002).

Credit: Big Lenny


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