“She was called Phillis, because that was the name of the ship that brought her, and Wheatley, which was the name of the merchant who bought her. She was born in Senegal. In Boston, the slave traders put her up for sale:
“She’s seven years old! She will be a good mare!”
She was felt, naked, by many hands.
At thirteen, she was already writing poems in a language that was not her own. No one believed that she was the author. At the age of twenty, Phillis was questioned by a court of eighteen enlightened men in robes and wigs.
She had to recite texts from Virgil and Milton and some messages from the Bible, and she also had to swear that the poems she had written were not plagiarized. From a chair, she gave her long examination, until the court accepted her: she was a woman, she was black, she was a slave, and she was a poet.”
Phillis Wheatley, was the first African-American writer to publish a book in the United States.
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