At the age of eight, she was kidnapped, enslaved in New England, and sold to John Wheatley of Boston. Although she was an enslaved person, Phillis Wheatley Peters was one of the best-known poets in pre-19th century America. Although the date and place of her birth are not documented, scholars believe that Phillis Wheatley was born in 1753 in West Africa, most likely in present-day Gambia or Senegal. Phillis Wheatley was born in west Africa present day Senegal in either 1753 or 1754. Phillis Wheatley came to the Boston slave market in 1761; some have guessed from the African country of Senegal. She became well known locally for her poetry. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Purchased as a domestic servant for Susanna, the small girl was named after the ship that brought her to Boston, the Phillis , and her master, Wheatley. The young girl who was to become Phillis Wheatley was kidnapped and taken to Boston on a slave ship in 1761 and purchased by a tailor, John Wheatley, as a personal servant for his wife, Susanna. Angels "Celestial Choir" Revolution. She was born in Senegambia (now Senegal) in west Africa. She was brought to Boston in 1761, and bought by Mrs. John Wheatley, who, noting remarkable exhibitions of intellectual powers and a thirst for books in her servant, set to work to educate her. How did she gain her name ? Phillis passed away on month day 2007, at age 83 at death place, Iowa. Reaching Boston in 1761, John Wheatley, a tailor, bought her as a servant for his wife, Susanna. In the American Encyclopedia is the following article: "Phillis Wheatley, a negro poetess, born in Africa in 1755, died in Boston, Mass., December 5, 1794. If Phillis Wheatley stood for anything, it was the creed that culture was, could be, the equal possession of all humanity.” In this quote Henry Gates explains that people criticizing the work of Wheatley are missing the whole point of her work. The Wheatley family in Boston bought her. Phillis Wheatley was the first published African American poet and first African-American woman whose writings helped create the genre of African American literature. After 16 months, Wheatley could read and understand any part of the Bible, and she began writing poetry at age 12. Early Life And Childhood. Introduction. Phillis Wheatley—The suggested event is Wheatley's visit to England, ... Born near Charleston, South Carolina, Boston King fled his owner to join the British. When was Wheatley born? She was bought by a wealthy family in Boston and given their surname Wheatley. At the desire of friends she had made in England, she was soon freed. When Mrs. Susanna Wheatley purchased her as a personal servant, she named Phillis after the ship. Phillis Wheatley was the first African-American to publish a book. Wheatley proved to many people that Blacks were equal to whites in creative ability. She was then about 8 years old. When she was 7 or 8, she was sold as a slave to John and Susanna Wheatley of Boston. Phillis Wheatley (born Pratt) was born in 1924, at birth place. From overcoming oppression, to breaking rules, to reimagining the world or waging a rebellion, these women of history have a story to tell. Although nothing specific is known about Phillis Wheatley’s early childhood, scholars believe that she was born in and around 1753 in West Africa, possibly in present day Senegal or Gambia. Wheatley’s first poem to appear in print was “On Messrs. Hussey and Coffin” (1767), but she did not become widely known until the publication of “An Elegiac Poem, on the Death of the Celebrated Divine…George Whitefield” (1770), a tribute to Whitefield, a popular preacher with whom she may have been personally acquainted. In 1761 the slave ship Phillis brought her to Boston, where the merchant John Wheatley and his wife, Susanna, purchased her. When Wheatley was only seven years old she was sold by a local chief to a visiting slave trader. Over the next few years, she would print a number of broadsides elegizing prominent English and colonial leaders. 1753-1784. Her date of birth and her African name are not known. She began writing poetry at thirteen, modeling her work on the English poets of the time, particularly John Milton, Thomas Gray, and Alexander Pope. As a child Phillis was taken into captivity and shipped to Boston where she was sold into slavery at the age of eight to John and Susanna Wheatley who named her Phillis … By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Phillis Wheatley Essay “The challenge isn’t to read white or read black; it is to read. In 1778 she married John Peters, a free black man who eventually abandoned her. Born in Gambia, she was made a slave at age seven. She was captured as a child and sold into slavery. Phillis Wheatley was born circa 1753 in West Africa, and was very likely kidnapped into slavery. Though Wheatley generally avoided the topic of slavery in her poetry, her best-known work, “On Being Brought from Africa to America” (written 1768), contains a mild rebuke toward some white readers: “Remember, Christians, Negroes, black as Cain / May be refined, and join th’ angelic train.” Other notable poems include “To the University of Cambridge, in New England” (written 1767), “To the King’s Most Excellent Majesty” (written 1768), and “On the Death of Rev. In the episode, The Boston Tea Party, Phillis Wheatley was one of Moses's close friends, and a slave. Search more than 3,000 biographies of contemporary and classic poets. Captured around the age of seven, she was sold to a distinguished Bostonian family as a domestic slave. Many of the poems for her proposed second volume disappeared and have never been recovered. Wheatley’s mistress enabled her to become literate and encouraged her to write poetry that soon found its way into New … Phillis Wheatley Phillis Wheatley was born in Senegal in about 1753. A number of her other poems celebrate the nascent United States of America, whose struggle for independence was sometimes employed as a metaphor for spiritual or, more subtly, racial freedom. Born in West Africa in 1753, she was captured and sold to slave traders at age seven or eight years old. Phillis Wheatley: her birthday, what she did before fame, her family life, fun trivia facts, popularity rankings, and more. Born in West Africa, she was purchased by a family in Boston and educated when her talent was noticed. Her first name Phillis was derived from the ship that brought her to America, “the Phillis.” She gained her name from the slave ship that brought her to America and the family that bought her. Little is known about Wheatley’s earliest years; it is estimated that she was born in 1753 in the area of West Africa that corresponds with modern-day Senegal. Phillis Wheatley was the first published African-American female poet. She was a Black slave and writer. Credited as the first African American woman to be published, she became famous for her 1773 poetry collection, "Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral." At the age of seven or eight, she was sold to a visiting slave trader who transported her to Boston, Massachusetts, the United States in July 1761. Born in Senegal, Africa in 1753, she was kidnapped on a slave ship to Boston and sold at the age of seven to John and Susannah Wheatley of Boston as Mrs. Wheatley's personal servant. The family who raised her, taught her how to read and write, and she slowly turned into a woman of the revolution. Born in the Senegal-Gambia region of West Africa, Phillis Wheatley arrived in Boston on a slave ship when she was about seven years old. They had one child. Two books issued posthumously were Memoir and Poems of Phillis Wheatley (1834)—in which Margaretta Matilda Odell, a collateral descendant of Susanna Wheatley, provides a short biography of Phillis as a preface to a collection of her poems—and Letters of Phillis Wheatley, the Negro Slave-Poet of Boston (1864). Question: When was Phillis Wheatley born? She was named after the ship that brought her to America, the Phillis. Phillis Wheatley, (born c. 1753, present-day Senegal?, West Africa—died December 5, 1784, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.), the first black woman poet of note in the United States. Born around 1753 in Gambia, Africa, Wheatley was captured by slave traders and brought to America in 1761. Born in western Africa, Phillis Wheatley was kidnapped by slave traders in 1761 when she was about seven years old. …universal brotherhood of humanity, African-born. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Phillis Wheatley Peters was born in West Africa in 1753. Thy various works, imperial queen, we see,    How bright their forms! Thine own words declareWisdom is higher than a fool can reach.I cease to wonder, and no more attemptThine height t’explore, or fathom thy profound.But, O my soul, sink not into despair,Virtue is near thee, and with gentle handWould now embrace thee, hovers o’er thine head.Fain would the heav’n-born soul with her converse,Then seek, then court her for her promis’d bliss. Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree.... Meet extraordinary women who dared to bring gender equality and other issues to the forefront. Phillis Wheatley (sometimes misspelled as Phyllis) was born in Africa (most likely in Senegal) in 1753 or 1754. Imagination! Phillis Wheatley was born in 1753, at birth place, to John Wheatley and Susanna Wheatley (born Wheeler). She was transported to the British colonies in 1763. Finally, her health failed and Phillis Wheatley died on December 5, 1784 at the age of thirty, followed soon after by her infant. Born in the Senegal-Gambia region of West Africa, Phillis Wheatley arrived in Boston on a slave ship when she was about seven years old. O Thou bright jewel in my aim I striveTo comprehend thee. She was sold by a local chief to a visiting trader, who took her to Boston in the British Colony of Massachusetts, on July 11, 1761, on a slave ship called The Phillis. Phillis Wheatley was not an ordinary slave, but she was accepted into society my the majority. She traveled aboard the slave ship, The Phillis, in wretched conditions. Phillis Wheatley: Phillis Wheatley was an early African-American poet. She was a Black slave and writer. Although nothing specific is known about Phillis Wheatley’s early childhood, scholars believe that she was born in and around 1753 in West Africa, possibly in present day Senegal or Gambia. Phillis Wheatley: her birthday, what she did before fame, her family life, fun trivia facts, popularity rankings, and more. Born around 1753 in Gambia, Africa, Wheatley was captured by slave traders and brought to America in 1761. She was thirty-one years old. She was abducted at the age of seven or eight, and then sold in Boston to John and Susanna Wheatley on July 11, 1761. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). She named the young girl Phillis after the ship she traveled on, who was then given the surname Wheatley. Phillis Wheatley was a West African poet and is famous for being the first known African-American poet to be published under their name.. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership. He escaped captivity several times and made his way to New York, the last American port to be evacuated by the British. As was the custom of the time, she was given the Wheatley family's surname. Phillis Wheatley was born in Gambia on May 8, 1753. In 1773, Phillis Wheatley accomplished something that no other woman of her status had done. Phillis Wheatley is a member of Poet May 8, 1762. Although her exact birth location is not known, it was likely Gambia or Senegal. Omissions? At the age of eight, she was kidnapped and brought to Boston on … Updates? Phillis Wheatley was the first African-American female poet to be published. The Wheatley family of Boston, who taught her to read and write, and encouraged her poetry when they saw her talent, purchased her. Her poem “On the Death of the Rev. Born in Senegambia, Africa she was sold into slavery at the age of 7 and transported to North America. Phillis Wheatley was the first African American published poet. After 16 months, Wheatley could read and understand any part of the Bible, and she began writing poetry at age 12. Terms in this set (...) When and where was Mrs.Wheatley born? Phillis Wheatley: Phillis Wheatley (1753 - 1784) was an African-born early American poet who achieved fame as the first African-American woman to publish … After the elder Wheatleys died, Phillis was left to support herself as a seamstress and poet. Author. STUDY. She is famous from her real name: Phillis Wheatley, Birthdate(Birthday): May 8, 1753 , Age on December 5, 1784(Death date): 31 Years 6 Months 28 Days … Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. Phillis Wheatley, who had once been internationally celebrated, died alone in a boarding house on December 5, 1784. now her sacred retinue descends,Array’d in glory from the orbs above.Attend me, Virtue, thro’ my youthful years!O leave me not to the false joys of time!But guide my steps to endless life and bliss.Greatness, or Goodness, say what I shall call thee,To give an higher appellation still,Teach me a better strain, a nobler lay,O thou, enthron’d with Cherubs in the realms of day! She was purchased as a personal slave to Susannah Wheatley, wife of tailor John Wheatley, a prominent Boston merchant with a wholesale business, real estate, warehouses, and the schooner London Packet. We just know that she was kidnapped and sold to slave traders when she was a child. Phillis Wheatley was born in Africa and brought to Boston in a slave ship in the year 1761, then between 7 and 8 years of age. The Wheatley family of Boston, who taught her to read and write, and encouraged her poetry when they saw her talent, purchased her. 1753–1784. The Wheatleys soon recognized her talents and gave her privileges unusual for a slave, allowing her to learn to read and write. When Mrs. Susanna Wheatley purchased her as a personal servant, she named Phillis after the ship. Although the date and location of her birthplace is not perfectly documented, it is believed that Phillis Wheatley was born in 1753, somewhere in West Africa, most likely somewhere in present-day Gambia. Now here, now there, the roving Fancy flies,Till some lov’d object strikes her wand’ring eyes,Whose silken fetters all the senses bind,And soft captivity involves the mind. What kind of poem does Phillis Wheatley write? Phillis Wheatley Peters was born in West Africa in 1753. Upon arrival, she was sold to the Wheatley family in Boston, Massachusetts. The first African-American and one of the first women to publish a book of poetry in the colonies, Wheatley learned to read and write English by the age of nine, familiarizing herself with Latin, Greek, the Bible, and selected classics at an early age. Beginning in her early teens she wrote exceptionally mature, if conventional, verse that was stylistically influenced by Neoclassical poets such as Alexander Pope and was largely concerned with morality, piety, and freedom. She was going to be her maid. She was purchased by the Wheatley family of Boston, who taught her to read and write, and helped encourage her poetry. 13. Renamed her Phillis after the slave ship that brought her. Though Winter frowns to Fancy’s raptur’d eyesThe fields may flourish, and gay scenes arise;The frozen deeps may break their iron bands,And bid their waters murmur o’er the sands.Fair Flora may resume her fragrant reign,And with her flow'ry riches deck the plain;Sylvanus may diffuse his honours round,And all the forest may with leaves be crown’d:Show’rs may descend, and dews their gems disclose,And nectar sparkle on the blooming rose. Although little is known about her place and date of birth, most sources suggest Phillis Wheatley was born in either Senegal or the Gambia in approximately 1753. She was purchased by Mr. Wheatley, but she soon developed qualities so interesting and peculiar that she was treated more as an inmate of the family than as a slave. She was brought to the United States as a slave in 1761 aboard a ship called 'The Phillis'. how deck’d with pomp by thee!Thy wond’rous acts in beauteous order stand,And all attest how potent is thine hand. At the age of eight, she was kidnapped, enslaved in New England, and sold to John Wheatley of Boston. Fancy might now her silken pinions tryTo rise from earth, and sweep th’ expanse on high:From Tithon's bed now might Aurora rise,Her cheeks all glowing with celestial dies,While a pure stream of light o’erflows the skies.The monarch of the day I might behold,And all the mountains tipt with radiant gold,But I reluctant leave the pleasing views,Which Fancy dresses to delight the Muse;Winter austere forbids me to aspire,And northern tempests damp the rising fire;They chill the tides of Fancy’s flowing sea,Cease then, my song, cease the unequal lay. The first African-American and one of the first women to publish a book of poetry in the colonies, Wheatley learned to read and write English by the age of nine, familiarizing herself with Latin, Greek, the Bible, and selected classics at an … The piece is typical of Wheatley’s poetic oeuvre both in its formal reliance on couplets and in its genre; more than one-third of her extant works are elegies to prominent figures or friends. Phillis Wheatley was an African slave in Boston, Massachusetts when she became the first published black poet in America in 1767. John was born on October 31 1706, in Boston, Essex County, Massachusetts, USA. Phillis Wheatley was an African slave in Boston, Massachusetts when she became the first published black poet in America in 1767. When she was about eight years old, she was kidnapped and brought to Boston. Her first name is sometimes spelled “Phyllis”. At the end of her life Wheatley was working as a servant, and she died in poverty. When her book of poetry, Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, appeared, she became the first American slave, the first person of African descent, and only the third colonial American woman to have her work published. Phillis Wheatley came to the Boston slave market in 1761; some have guessed from the African country of Senegal. A slave ship took her to Boston, Massachusetts, in 1761. Born in Africa about 1753 and sold as a slave in Boston in 1761, Phillis was a small, sick child who caught the attention of John and Susanna Wheatley. STUDY. Mr. George Whitefield” was published as a broadside in cities such as Boston, New York, and Philadelphia and garnered Wheatley national acclaim. Husband: John Peters (a free black man, m. 1778) Sold into Slavery 1761 (in West Africa) Manumission 1773. PLAY. 1761 Wheatley is quickly purchased by Boston merchant John Wheatley, who purchased the girl for his wife, Susanna. In 1776, Wheatley wrote a letter and poem in support of George Washington, who replied with an invitation to visit him in Cambridge, stating that he would be “happy to see a person so favored by the muses.” In 1778, she married John Peters, who kept a grocery store. *Phillis Wheatley was born on this date 1753. The two were buried in an unmarked grave somewhere in Boston. Phillis Wheatley was the first female African-American to publish a book of poetry and became a well-known poet in the 18th century. who can sing thy force?Or who describe the swiftness of thy course?Soaring through air to find the bright abode,Th’ empyreal palace of the thund’ring God,We on thy pinions can surpass the wind,And leave the rolling universe behind:From star to star the mental optics rove,Measure the skies, and range the realms above.There in one view we grasp the mighty whole,Or with new worlds amaze th’ unbounded soul. Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. At the age of eight, she was kidnapped, enslaved in New England, and sold to John Wheatley of Boston. This article was most recently revised and updated by, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Phillis-Wheatley, National Women's History Museum - Biography of Phillis Wheatley, Public Broadcasting Service - Africans in America - Biography of Phillis Wheatley, Academy of American Poets - Biography of Phillis Wheatley, Poetry Foundation - Biography of Phillis Wheatley, Social Studies for Kids - Biography of Phillis Wheatley, BlackPast - Biography of Phillis Wheatley, Phillis Wheatley - Children's Encyclopedia (Ages 8-11), Phillis Wheatley - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up), Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, “On Being Brought from Africa to America”, “An Elegiac Poem, on the Death of the Celebrated Divine…George Whitefield”, “Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral”. Phillis had 5 siblings: John Wheatley, Susanna Wheatley and 3 other siblings. Phillis Wheatley. Phillis was escorted by the Wheatleys’ son to London in May 1773. Her first book, Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, where many of her poems first saw print, was published there the same year. Phillis Wheatley was America's first black poet. Phillis Wheatley was born in West Africa in 1753. A couple named John and Susanna Wheatley bought her. She was named for the slave ship, Phillis, that brought her to Boston on July 11, 1761. Shortly after their third child was born, John Peters apparently deserted Phillis. Who was kidnapped and brought to New England in 1761? - The Academy of American Poets is the largest membership-based nonprofit organization fostering an appreciation for contemporary poetry and supporting American poets. Her first name Phillis was derived from the ship that brought her to America, “the Phillis .” Phillis Wheatley came to the Boston slave market in 1761; some have guessed from the African country of Senegal. Phillis Wheatley Biography, Life, Interesting Facts. Although Wheatley's birth is not documented, it is believed that she was born in 1753 in what is now Gambia or Senegal. Phillis Wheatley Biography Questions. Born in West Africa, she was sold into slavery at the age of seven or eight and transported to North America.She was purchased by the Wheatley family of Boston, who taught her to read and write and encouraged her poetry when they saw her talent. It is unclear precisely when Wheatley was freed from slavery, although scholars suggest it occurred between 1774 and 1778. He took the young girl to Boston, Massachusetts on a ship called The Phillis, where she was sold again. Phillis Wheatley was born in West Africa in modern day Senegal or Gambia, her date of birth is not exactly known but it is believed that she was born around 1753. John Wheatley; for his wife Susana. There, in 1761, John Wheatley enslaved her as a personal servant for his wife, Susanna. Phillis Wheatley was born in West Africa. Auspicious queen, thine heav’nly pinions spread,And lead celestial Chastity along;Lo! They had three children together, all of whom died young. Phillis Wheatley’s poem on tyranny and slavery, 1772 | Born in Africa, Phillis Wheatley was captured and sold into slavery as a child. Phillis Wheatley was born on May 8, 1753 in Senegal. She was named Phillis and given her master's surname. Phillis Wheatley Poet Born 1753 — Died December 5, 1784. He received a, © Academy of American Poets, 75 Maiden Lane, Suite 901, New York, NY 10038, Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral. African name are not known be published challenge isn ’ t to read and understand any of! A tailor from Boston, Massachusetts the Rev high school students the Boston household of John Wheatley of Boston black... African country of Senegal the 18th century, possibly in areas in or around.... Be evacuated by the British was not an ordinary slave, but she purchased... 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