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Statue of Phillis Wheatley

Phillis Wheatley, 1753-1784, poet, was the first African-American to publish poetry. Born into slavery, she was taken from her parents at an early age. She was raised Christian and offered an exceptional education by the family that owned her. She received he freedom on the death of her owner in 1778 and married. She had three children and none survived infancy. She died in poverty at age 31.


`TWAS mercy brought me from my Pagan land,

Taught my benighted soul to understand

That there's a God, that there's a Saviour too:

Once I redemption neither sought nor knew,

Some view our sable race with scornful eye,

"Their colour is a diabolic die."

Remember, Christians, Negroes, black as Cain,

May be refin'd, and join th' angelic train.´


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Taken on May 20, 2006