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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Phillis Wheatley, Poet (by Erin)

Phillis Wheatley by Erin

Phillis Wheatley's poetry rang out about her beliefs and what she stood for.

Phillis Wheatley had a childhood in America that other African-Americans could only hope
for. She was bought at an auction in the June of 1761 by Susannah Wheatley at age seven. When she
arrived at the Wheatley mansion, they treated her like one of their own children! They gave her a
bath when African-Americans were expected to provide their own way of cleaning themselves.
They also gave her some of their own clothes to wear. However, she was still a slave. The most
shocking privilege was that she got an education, and learned how to read and write. During her
learning experience she discovered her intriguing love for writing. This was the spark of her
Revolutionary Fire as a poet.

By writing a poem to General George Washington, Phillis Wheatley proved to him that
African-Americans were loyal and obedient, like a soldier should be. Washington had a kind
soul, but he still had slaves. The main reason was because he was afraid that the African-
Americans might resort to revenge with a musket at hand. During the war, Phillis Wheatley had
been writing poems and plays that reflected on how the Loyalists bested the British in the war.
Many lives were lost in the war everyday.Washington was racking his brain to find a way to have
more men. That's where Phillis Wheatley comes in. There were plenty of healthy and fit African-
Americans right under his nose.So she decided to write a poem to Washington. He was so moved
that he allowed African-Americans to fight in the war. To guarantee their support, he said any enslaved soldiers would be free after the Revolution. This was the ultimate payment for fighting in the war. Some stayed behind thinking the Loyalists would send them back to slavery. I think Phillis Wheatley brought
reinforcements to the army indirectly and that was a major help to our victory against the British.

The war had changed many lives in many ways, both good and bad. Wheatley's went downhill
a little after the war. She married a free black grocer by the name of John Peters. She eventually
became pregnant with two children. Unfortunately, they both died within the hour. Her fame had
also died down. She tried to publish another volume of poetry, but it failed to gain interest. She
became pregnant again and her husband was gone, in jail for a petty crime. She tried to manage herself on her own, but she barely survived in her state of condition. When the time came for her baby to be born,
she died giving birth. The child died a few hours later.

Phillis Wheatley had a strong voice that was was heard through her poetry. That voice will
continue to ring in the hearts of those who love and appreciate poetry.

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