Essay about Phillis Wheatley : An Influential African American Poet

1021 Words Nov 30th, 2016 5 Pages
Seth Powell
Mrs. Ayers
English 11
Phillis Wheatley
“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 color is a diabolic die." Remember, Christians, Negroes, black as Cain, May be refin 'd, and join th ' angelic train.”
—Phillis Wheatley

Phillis Wheatley is a symbol for African Americans, given how she was an influential African American poet from 1773 to 1784. Phillis was originally brought to Boston on a slave ship when she was only eight years old. John Wheatley then proceeded to purchase Phillis as a servant for his wife. The Wheatleys then educated Phillis on how to read and write. Phillis also studied geography, numerous histories and the Latin language. Phillis began to write poetry when she was only fourteen years old. Phillis later visited England so that she may publish her various poems. Wheatley was extremely religious and therefore most of her poems expressed her satisfaction at becoming a Christian in American society, nevertheless her poems were not limited to her pride in becoming a Christian but also about more worldly issues such as the American Revolution and the anti-slavery movement.
One of Wheatley’s major contributions to history is her work with poetry. She wrote her initial poem which she later had published at the age of thirteen about two men that nearly drown at…

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