Early Years Phillis was born in 1753 in Senegal, Africa. When she was 8 years old, she was kidnapped and taken to Boston Massachusetts. There were about 230,000 other African Americans that were kidnapped and shipped to the United States in total. Phillis got her name from the slave ship she was on “Phyllis”. She was bought by a wealthy merchant named John Wheatley. John and his wife Susanna educated her and treated her like a member of the family. She and Mary (the Wheatley’s daughter) were tutored by the Wheatley’s son Nathaniel.
More Early Years The Wheatley’s treated Phillis with respect because they admired George Whitefield. Phillis went to church a lot and had a strong belief in God. English was Phillis’ second language. Her first language was
Middle Years Susanna sent Phillis on a voyage with Nathaniel to England because the doctor said it would help cure Phillis’ disease. Phillis wrote a poem about church and God. Mr. Wheatley joined the war. Phillis’s poems started being in the news. At age 17 she was baptized. Her first poem book was published on Sep. 1st 1773. She was freed from slavery in 1773
More Middle Years Phillis had to go back home from England early because Susanna Wheatley was very sick. In 1774 Susanna died. In 1778 John Wheatley died. In 1778 Mary Wheatley died. Phillis started writing poems because she admired Alexander Pope.
Later Years She met General George Washington at a poetry reading in 1776. She was a strong supporter of independence during the Revolutionary war. Phillis married a free black grocer named John Peters They had three children. The first two died. When she had her third child 1784, she died and, a few hours later, her baby died. Her husband had too much debt to pay. So, he was put in debtor's jail. To get out Jail, he had to sell some of Phillis’ things. At the time of her death, there was a second volume of her poems, but no publishers wanted to publish the poems. After she died, they made a holiday celebrating her on February 1 st.
How Slaves were treated She was treated with respect. The slaves that lived around her were treated very poorly. The slaves in Africa were treated very badly because Americans came to Africa and kidnapped a bunch of African Americans then shipped them to America.
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