Phillis Wheatly

Phillis Wheatly

MaileJanessa Hughes

Phillis Wheatley was the first African American woman to publish a poetry book. She was born in West Africa on May 9th, and was sold into slavery at the age of seven and transported to North America.  She was purchased by the Wheatley family of Boston, who taught her how to read and write and encouraged her.  Following the publication of her work Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral she gained fame.  Shortly after, Wheatley was emancipated and married in 1778.  Phillis then had three children, two children died as infants. In 1784 Wheatly’s husband was arrested for debt.  Soon after that, she became impoverished and died of illness in 1784.