March 20: Phillis Wheatley (1753-1784)

Phillis Wheatley was a poet and the first Black woman to publish a book of poetry in the United States. She was born in Senegal and sold into slavery at the age of seven. Wheatley was brought to Boston, Massachusetts, where she was purchased by a wealthy family who recognized her intellectual abilities and provided her with an education. By the age of 13, Wheatley had written her first poem, and by 20, she had published her first book of poetry, "Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral." Despite facing racial prejudice and discrimination, Wheatley's work gained recognition and praise both in the United States and Europe. Wheatley's life and work continue to be celebrated for their historic and cultural significance.


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