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Why did Phillis Wheatley write poems and plays while being a slave?

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lls | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 4, 2009 at 12:50 AM via web

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Why did Phillis Wheatley write poems and plays while being a slave?

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ms-mcgregor | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 4, 2009 at 3:28 AM (Answer #1)

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Wheatley was brought to America on a slave ship in 1761 and purchased by John Wheatley, a Boston merchant. Mr. Wheatley recognized her talent and gave her a good education and in 1773, he freed her. She had a poem first published when she was 13 but in 1773, the year of her emancipation, she visited England and published a book there called "Poem on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral". She was a strong supporter of the Revolutionary War and in 1776 had a poem published call "To His Excellency General Washington". The magazine that published the poem was edited at the time by Thomas Paine. Her initial work was admired by Washington, Benjamin Franklin and Voltaire, Unfortunately, her second volume of poems was stolen and Wheatley died around the age of 30.

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