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Wheatley, Phillis

Born: 1753 AD
Died: 1784 AD

1753 – Phillis Wheatly born this year in West Africa. She is the first black woman poet of note in the United States.

1761 – The young girl who was to become Phillis Wheatley was kidnapped and taken to Boston on a slave ship  and purchased by a tailor, John Wheatley, as a personal servant for his wife.

1763 – Under the tutelage of Mrs. Wheatley and her daughter, She had mastered English; she went on to learn Greek and Latin and caused a stir among Boston scholars by translating a tale from Ovid.

1767 – At age 14 she wrote exceptionally mature, if conventional, poetry that was largely concerned with morality and piety.

1770 – Her better-known pieces include “To the University of Cambridge in New England,” “To the King’s Most Excellent Majesty,” “On the Death of Rev. Dr. Sewall,” and “An Elegiac Poem, on the Death of the Celebrated Divine. George Whitefield,” the last of which was the first of her poems was published.

1773 – She was escorted by Mr. Wheatley’s son to London in, and there her first book, Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, was published. Her personal qualities, even more than her literary talent, contributed to her great social success in London.

1778  – She married John Peters, an intelligent but irresponsible free black man who eventually abandoned her. At the end of her life she was working as a servant, and she died in poverty.

1834 – 1864 – Her two books issued posthumously were Memoir and Poems of Phillis Wheatley and Letters of Phillis Wheatley, the Negro Slave-Poet of Boston.
1784 – Died on the 5th of December in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.