TSL Women’s History Month In Focus: Don’t Forget Phillis Wheatley

Celebrating excellence in sports, entertainment and culture.

Image Credit: YouTube

According to history, poet and author Phillis Wheatley was born in Gambia or Senegal, abducted at 7 years old and brought to America as human chattell to toil her life away in the so-called New World.

However, unbeknownst to her enslavers at the time, Wheatley was a prodigy.

Muslim Women’s Day is also celebrated this month (March 27), so this incredible woman and artistic force can be celebrated twice.

According to Emergence of African-American Literacy Traditions Family and Community by Phyllis M. M. Belt-Beyan, Wheatley began writing in Arabic on a chalkboard and walls just two weeks after her arrival at the Wheatley Peters household. She would do this almost daily. At the time, literacy for people of African descent was strictly prohibited. But her new overseers were amused by the brilliance of this young child and decided to educate her.

This is often framed as some sort of altruism by history, but it was likely more out of humor and curiosity that this decision was made as it was often coined that an educated slave was a ruined slave during those bigoted times.

Image title

According to the book, she would become fluent in English and Spanish within a year of her arrival to America, and go onto publish her first works by the time she was 13. Her first book was Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, published in 1773.

Author Will Harris, in Phillis Wheatley: The Muslim Connection, wrote that he believes she is mimicking the language of a Quranic verse in this hymn that discusses her coming to a foreign land.

“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, Negros, black as Cain, May be refin’d and join th’ angelic train.”

Wheatley’s works would be read by the most highly regarded men of her time; George Washington and Voltaire among many others. However, her brilliance drew controversy as many didn’t believe a slave girl could write as well as she did. She even had to defend her authorship in court in 1772.

She was emancipated when her slave master, John Wheatley, died. She married shortly thereafter and attempted to start a family. However, two of her children died of illness and her husband was imprisoned for unpaid debt in 1784.

Wheatley would fall into poverty almost immediately and died a short time later. Her only remaining child, an infant son, died soon after his mother’s passing.

The founder of the African-American literary tradition likely was a Muslim and may have only embraced Christianity as a survival tactic. This is a substantial revelation and is yet another example of how Islam has been threaded into the very fibers of Old Glory from the beginning. It’s also a reminder to appreciate and celebrate the wisdom, talent and legendary life of Phillis Wheatley,


Related Articles


  1. A motivating discussion is definitely worth comment. I do think that you ought to write more about this subject matter, it may not be a taboo subject but typically folks don’t speak about such issues. To the next! Cheers!!|

  2. I simply could not leave your web site prior to suggesting that I actually enjoyed the standard information a person provide on your guests? Is going to be again frequently to check up on new posts|

  3. Today, I went to the beach front with my children. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is completely off topic but I had to tell someone!|

  4. You could definitely see your expertise in the article you write. The world hopes for even more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to mention how they believe. All the time go after your heart.|

  5. Howdy! This article couldn’t be written much better! Reading through this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He always kept preaching about this. I am going to send this post to him. Fairly certain he’s going to have a very good read. Many thanks for sharing!|

  6. I have read so many articles concerning the blogger lovers but this post is truly a pleasant paragraph, keep it up.|

  7. Thanks for every other informative blog. The place else could I get that type of information written in such a perfect way? I’ve a mission that I am simply now operating on, and I have been on the glance out for such info.|

  8. Hey I know this is off topic but I was wondering if you knew of any widgets I could add to my blog that automatically tweet my newest twitter updates. I’ve been looking for a plug-in like this for quite some time and was hoping maybe you would have some experience with something like this. Please let me know if you run into anything. I truly enjoy reading your blog and I look forward to your new updates.|

  9. Hello There. I found your blog the usage of msn. This is an extremely smartly written article. I’ll be sure to bookmark it and return to learn extra of your useful information. Thanks for the post. I will certainly comeback.|

  10. Pretty section of content. I just stumbled upon your blog and in accession capital to assert that I get actually enjoyed account your blog posts. Anyway I will be subscribing to your feeds and even I achievement you access consistently rapidly.|

  11. Howdy I am so glad I found your blog, I really found you by accident, while I was looking on Digg for something else, Nonetheless I am here now and would just like to say kudos for a tremendous post and a all round entertaining blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to read it all at the minute but I have saved it and also added your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read more, Please do keep up the awesome job.|

  12. I got this site from my buddy who shared with me regarding this web site and at the moment this time I am visiting this site and reading very informative posts at this time.|

  13. I believe what you posted was actually very reasonable. But, think about this, suppose you added a little information? I mean, I don’t want to tell you how to run your blog, but suppose you added a headline that makes people desire more? I mean BLOG_TITLE is a little boring. You ought to peek at Yahoo’s home page and see how they create news headlines to get people to click. You might try adding a video or a related pic or two to grab readers interested about what you’ve got to say. In my opinion, it might bring your blog a little livelier.|

  14. Hi there! I’m at work surfing around your blog from my new apple iphone! Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to all your posts! Keep up the outstanding work!|

  15. We absolutely love your blog and find most of your post’s to be precisely what I’m looking for. can you offer guest writers to write content in your case? I wouldn’t mind producing a post or elaborating on many of the subjects you write in relation to here. Again, awesome blog!|

  16. I was very happy to find this page. I wanted to thank you for your time for this wonderful read!! I definitely really liked every little bit of it and i also have you bookmarked to see new things in your web site.|

  17. My brother suggested I would possibly like this blog. He was entirely right. This put up actually made my day. You can not believe just how much time I had spent for this info! Thank you!|

  18. It’s a pity you don’t have a donate button! I’d certainly donate to this superb blog! I suppose for now i’ll settle for book-marking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to fresh updates and will share this blog with my Facebook group. Chat soon!|

  19. Thank you, I’ve recently been looking for information approximately this subject for a long time and yours is the greatest I have discovered till now. But, what in regards to the conclusion? Are you positive in regards to the supply?|

  20. Hi! Do you know if they make any plugins to assist with SEO? I’m trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I’m not seeing very good results. If you know of any please share. Thanks!|

  21. It’s difficult to find knowledgeable people about this topic, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

  22. May I just say what a relief to find a person that genuinely understands what they are talking about on the web. You actually know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people should look at this and understand this side of your story. I was surprised you are not more popular given that you certainly possess the gift. http://digitalservice.mystrikingly.com/

  23. Hi, I do believe this is an excellent web site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I’m going to return yet again since I bookmarked it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide other people.

  24. Your style is very unique compared to other folks I have read stuff from. Thank you for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I’ll just book mark this web site.

  25. I just want to say I am just newbie to blogging and seriously loved your page. Probably I’m want to bookmark your site . You certainly have exceptional article content. Bless you for sharing with us your web page.

  26. Leading Online Pharmacy – Contact us at +1 (917) 259-3352 for unbelievable rates, discount and offers on any medicine. Get it delivered free of cost at your door steps, call us today. Phone : +1 (917) 259-3352

  27. Thank you for the auspicious writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it. Look advanced to more added agreeable from you! However, how can we communicate?|

  28. Hi! Someone in my Facebook group shared this site with us so I came to look it over. I’m definitely enjoying the information. I’m book-marking and will be tweeting this to my followers! Outstanding blog and outstanding design.|

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.