My Name Is Phillis Wheatley: A Story of Slavery and Freedom (Paperback)
This is the remarkable story of Phillis Wheatley, who is born into an African family of griots, or storytellers, but captured by slave raiders and forced aboard a slave ship, where appalling conditions spell death for many of her companions. Numerous sharks follow the ship, feeding on the corpses of slaves thrown overboard.
Weakened by the voyage and near death in a Boston slave market, Wheatley is bought by a kind family who nurses her back to health and teaches her to read and write. Soon her mistress recognizes that the girl is a quick learner and talented. At the age of 12, a torrent of poetry begins to flow out of Wheatley. Proud of her achievements, her mistress organizes readings in Boston's finest parlors and drawing rooms, and Wheatley's fame spreads. But even when many in Boston are calling her a prodigy and a genius, some remain unsure that a slave should be able to write, much less write poetry. When Phillis travels to London she is a media sensation, feted by the cream of English society. A book of her poems is published, and she finally gains her freedom.
This amazing story, wide in scope, is based on fact and told convincingly from young Wheatley's point of view.
About the Author
Afua Cooper is a multi-award-winning and celebrated speaker, scholar, historian, author, poet, performer and social and cultural commentator for organizations worldwide committed to building diversity, equity and inclusion strategies. In alignment with the recent global overtures to end racism, Dr. Cooper's mission is to end racism globally by helping organizations improve racial and ethnic justice in the workplace. She helps boards of directors set long-term strategies to become anti-racist organizations. She lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
... Phillis's narrative is truly a story of slavery and freedom.—Kirkus Reviews
Her poetry is woven into the biographical details, and the haunting personal story opens up the history.—Booklist
The writing is generally strong and engaging, drawing readers immediately into Wheatley's agonies ...—School Library Journal