Wheatley, Phillis
(c. 1753-1784)
   first published African-American woman poet
   Phillis Wheatley was born in West Africa, probably in what is now Gambia, and after being enslaved was transported to Boston, Massachusetts, and purchased in 1761 as a servant by John and susannah Wheatley. she was trained as a personal maid to Mrs. Wheatley and lived in the family residence.
   Encouraged by the Wheatleys, Phillis learned to read and write. Impressed by her comprehension of complicated Bible passages, the Wheatley's in 1770 sponsored Phyllis's membership in the Old South Church, soon to become a center of revolutionary activity. Wheatley had already written some of her many poems with Christian themes. For example, "To the University of Cambridge" called upon students to avoid sin and follow Christ. The year she joined the church she wrote a poem on the occasion of the death of evangelist George Whitefield. Her poems made her a local celebrity.
   In 1773, the Wheatleys freed Phillis and sent her to England in hopes of restoring her health. In England, she was received by the countess of Huntington, George Whitefield's patron. Phillis also had the opportunity to publish her book, Poems on Various Subjects: Religious and Moral. She returned to Massachusetts and worked for her former masters until their deaths in 1774 and 1778. She continued to write until close to her death, but a bad marriage and the need to work to support her children lessened her output. She died on December 5, 1784.
   Wheatley's works were later used by abolitionists to defend the idea of native talents and capabilities of black people. Her fame has waxed and waned, but she has most recently been rediscovered by spokespersons of womanist theology, a movement devoted to highlighting the voices of black women as they confront a racist and sexist community.
   Further reading:
   ■ Shirley Graham, The Story of Phillis Wheatley (New York: J. Messmer, 1949, 1966)
   ■ William Henry Robinson, Critical Essays on Phillis Wheatley (Boston: G. K. Hall, 1982)
   ■ Phillis Wheatley, The Collected Works of Phillis Wheatley, ed. by John C. Shields (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989).

Encyclopedia of Protestantism. . 2005.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Wheatley, Phillis — born с 1753, present day Senegal or The Gambia?, West Africa died Dec. 5, 1784, Boston, Mass., U.S. African American poet and the first African American to publish a book. She was kidnapped, transported to America, and sold from a slave ship in… …   Universalium

  • Wheatley, Phillis — ( 1753, en lo que es actualmente Senegal o Gambia, Africa occidental–5 dic. 1784, Boston, Mass., EE.UU.). Poeta afroamericana, y la primera persona afroamericana en publicar un libro. Fue secuestrada, transportada a Nueva Inglaterra en un barco… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Wheatley,Phillis — Wheat·ley (hwētʹlē, wētʹ ), Phillis. 1753? 1784. African born American poet considered the first widely recognized Black writer in America. Her works include Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral (1773). * * * …   Universalium

  • Wheatley, Phillis —    см. Уитли, Филлис …   Писатели США. Краткие творческие биографии

  • Phillis Wheatley — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Retrato de Phillis Wheatley. Phillis Wheatley (1753 – 5 de diciembre de 1784), fue la primera escritora afroamericana en publicar un libro en los Estados Unidos. Su obra Poems on Various Subjects …   Wikipedia Español

  • Phillis Wheatley — Phillis ou Phyllis Wheatley, née le 5 décembre 1753 et décédée en 1784, est la première poétesse noire américaine de renom. Son livre Poems on Various Subjects fut publié en 1773, trois ans avant le début de la Révolution américaine …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Wheatley (surname) — As a surname Wheatley means From the wheat meadow in Anglo Saxon.Alternative spellings include Wheatly, Whatley, Whitley, and Wheatleigh. Whether this is an association of work, or of origin, is debatable. It seems safe to say that if someone… …   Wikipedia

  • Phillis Wheatley — (1753 – December 5, 1784) was the first published African American poet whose writings helped create the genre of African American literature. [ The Trials of Phillis Wheatley: America s First Black Poet and Her Encounters with the Founding… …   Wikipedia

  • Phillis Wheatley — Phillis Wheatley. Frontispiz der Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, London 1773. Phillis Wheatley (* um 1753 vermutlich in der Region Senegambia, Westafrika; † 5. Dezember 1784 in Boston) war die erste afroamerikanische Dichterin,… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Wheatley High School (Houston) — Phillis Wheatley High School is a secondary school located at 4801 Providence Street in Houston, Texas, United States with a ZIP code of 77020. Wheatley, which serves grades 9 through 12, is a part of the Houston Independent School District.… …   Wikipedia

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