mardi 12 avril 2011

Phillis Wheatley, the first African-American poet.


Born December 5, 1753 in Senegal. At the age of seven, she is captured by slave traders. Before being landed in Boston, New England (U.S.), it was sold at auction to the family of John and Susannah Wheatley (tailor its state). They give her the name Phyllis, treats her as their own daughter and teach her ​​to read and write.
         She learns English, with an exceptionally fast and the Greek and Latin. She reads the Bible and especially a passion for three British poets John Milton (1608-1674), Alexander Pope (1688-1744) and Thomas Gray (1716-1771). Their poems and give the upset like to write poems. At 13, she began writing poems.
            In 1767, she became popular when the Journal "Newport Mercury" published his first poem on the Death of Reverend George Whitefield (1714-1770), the great Calvinist evangelist who traveled the New England and was a friend Selina, Countess of Huntington. The later invited him to London and help to publish his poems.
         In 1773, she arrived in the British capital accompanied Wheatley's son. She is introduced to high society September, 1st, 1773, "Milton's Paradise Lost Editions" published his first collection of 39 poems entitled "Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral (Poems on various areas, religious and Moral by Phillis Wheatley, black servant of Mr. John Wheatley of Boston in New England).
         The book caused a sensation in England. After the publication of her book, she accompanies Wheatley's son who brought in the London high society. She is received by the Lord Mayor of London and met the future president of the United States, Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) to whom she had dedicated a poem.
         Freed from slavery in 1778, she married John Peters, an African American, poor businessman. She gives him three children. Her marriage was not happy. Her husband was imprisoned for insolvency. To live, she becomes a servant before he died in poverty in 31 years December 5, 1784.
         In 1830, abolitionists reissued his poems for it serves as an example to other African Americans. The American Foundation "Phillis Wheatley Communauty Center (PWCC), created in 1924 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, heir to his royalties and engaged in the emancipation of African-Americans perpetuate his memory.

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