Phillis Wheatley: Poems

Legacy and honors

With the 1773 publication of Wheatley's book Poems on Various Subjects, she "became the most famous African on the face of the earth."[28] Voltaire stated in a letter to a friend that Wheatley had proved that black people could write poetry. John Paul Jones asked a fellow officer to deliver some of his personal writings to "Phillis the African favorite of the Nine (muses) and Apollo."[28] She was honored by many of America's founding fathers, including George Washington, who told her that "the style and manner [of your poetry] exhibit a striking proof of your great poetical Talents."[29]

Critics consider her work fundamental to the genre of African American literature.[30] She is honored as the first African American woman to publish a book and the first to make a living from her writing.[31]

  • In 2002, the scholar Molefi Kete Asante listed Phillis Wheatley as one of his 100 Greatest African Americans.[32]
  • Wheatley is featured, along with Abigail Adams and Lucy Stone, in the Boston Women's Memorial, a 2003 sculpture on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston, Massachusetts .
  • In 2012, Robert Morris University named the new building for their School of Communications and Information Sciences after Phillis Wheatley.[33]

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