Phillis Wheatley (Part 1)
Updated: 1/7/2021
Phillis Wheatley (Part 1)

Storyboard Text

  • She was sold to John Wheatley as an attendant to his wife, Susanna. They were kinder to Phillis than other families were to their slaves. Phillis's life was different from other slaves in America.
  • Phillis Wheatley was born in West Africa in 1753. During the Revolutionary War, at the age of seven, she was kidnapped and sold as a slave in Boston, Massachusetts.
  • Take me back! Take me home! I don't want to be a slave!
  • Oh, stop your whining and crying! You are coming to America, and you will be a slave!!!
  • She also learned theology, English, Latin, and Greek. She was taught ancient history, mythology and literature, as well. Phillis Wheatley was encouraged in her interest in reading and writing by her owners.
  • Phillis adopted her master's last name, Wheatley. Her owners were very protective of her and taught her. She was a very bright girl and quickly learned to read and write. She was interested in reading and writing.
  • I do not understand. Wasn't she a monster?
  • So, you see, Medusa was a young girl like you.
  • At around age thirteen, Phillis Wheatley wrote her first poem, titled “An Elegiac Poem, on the Death of the Celebrated Divine George Whitefield," about two men who almost drowned at sea. She wrote other poems as well, which increased her fame.
  • Let me think... Yes, that makes sense. No, I should't add that part...
  • In 1773, Phillis gained more respect with her first and only book of poems, "Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral." Phillis Wheatley became the first African-American and the first slave to publish a book of poems.
  • In 1775, Phillis Wheatley sent a poem that she had wrote to George Washington. He, in turn, invited her to his headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
  • Phillis Wheatley was a big supporter of the American Revolution. She made many poems in honor of George Washington, the commander of the Continental Army, and future president.
  • Phillis Wheatley traveled to London to promote her poems and she also got medical treatment for a sickness she had. After she returned, her life changed forever.
  • Phillis Wheatley was freed from slavery, but at a terrible cost. She was devastated to know that Susanna and John Wheatley had died. Susanna in 1774, and John in 1778.
  • I now pronounce you...husband and wife!
  • In 1778, Phillis Wheatley married another freed African-American named John Peters. He was also from Boston. The two had three children, but they died in infancy.
  • The family constantly struggled with poverty. Phillis worked as a maid in a boarding house with quite terrible conditions.
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