Black History Month: Celebrating Those Who Came Before Us
Phillis Wheatley (1754 - 1784)
In the 1770s, West African-born slave Phillis Wheatley became the first African American and third woman to publish a book of poems. The book, Poems on Various Subjects, was well known among literate colonists, and her success became a catalyst for the fledgling antislavery movement. Enslaved most of her life to John Wheatley and his wife, she became one of the best-known poets of her time. Unfortunately, she died before securing a publisher for her second book of poetry. Wheatley is honored with a statue at the Boston Women’s Memorial, which is dedicated to women who helped shape the city.
February 21, 2021
Source: O The Oprah Magazine, January 2021, Poetry Foundation, City of Boston