Black History Month: Celebrating Those Who Came Before Us

  • Phillis Wheatley (1754 - 1784) 

    Phillis Wheatley

    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