Although she was an enslaved person, Phillis Wheatley Peters was one of the best-known poets in pre-19th century America. In 1773, Phillis Wheatley accomplished something that no other woman of her status had done. Phillis Wheatley was the first African-American to publish a book. History is not clear about John Peters' story. - The Academy of American Poets is the largest membership-based nonprofit organization fostering an appreciation for contemporary poetry and supporting American poets. She was born in Senegambia (now Senegal) in west Africa. Wheatley suffered from asthma (a legacy of the Middle Passage) and the death of three children, before dying in poverty and obscurity, aged 31, in 1784. The Wheatleys’ choice might have been due to the fact that, with her missing front teeth, she looks like she was seven years old, almost the same age as the last of their children, Sarah, at the time of her death. Phillis Wheatley (c. 1753-1784) and her Sovereign God Small, frightened and skinny, she looked too frail to do much work. 1778: Wheatley marries John Peters. Wheatley’s precociousness became apparent quickly, and the entire Wheatley family taught young Phillis to read and write (though she continued her household duties as well). The couple lives in very poor and impoverished conditions, likely contributing to the death of two infant children. 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 … In accordance with John Wheatley's will, Phillis is freed upon her master's death. A month after the death of John Wheatley, Phillis Wheatley married John Peters, a free Black man of Boston. to Boston, Mass. In 1782 she moves back from Wilmington, Mass. 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. During her early adulthood Phillis became more ... John Wheatley dies, and her teacher Mary Lathrop dies. A list of poems by Phillis Wheatley Born around 1753, Phillis Wheatley was the first black poet in America to publish a book. and works as a maid there. From 1779-1782 she has three children, although two died in infancy and the other as a toddler. 1784: Wheatley's husband imprisoned for debt. Phillis Wheatley's elegy for Whitefield changed her life, transforming her from a young enslaved woman with a small readership among friends of the Wheatley family to an author with an international readership. Marriage and Children . Mary Wheatley, the daughter of the family, died that same year. Phillis Wheatley was an inspiring example to nineteenth-century African American writers such as Ann Plato, Frances … The poem was published as a broadside on October 11, … Wheatley marries black grocer John Peters. Wheatley is freed. Phillis Wheatley, as illustrated by Scipio Moorhead in the Frontispiece to her book Poems on Various Subjects #2 Wheatley was named after the slave ship that brought her to U.S. She was sold to John Wheatley, a wealthy Boston merchant and tailor, who bought her as a servant for his wife Susanna.

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