African-born Phillis Wheatley (~1753-1784) was brought to the U.S. as a slave in the ownership of a merchant named John Wheatley. Although it was unusual for slaves to be educated, Wheatley studied British literature and Latin at an early age and began writing herself at age 13. Although her work was appreciated by contemporary readers, it is only recently that Wheatley has begun to receive recognition in the academy as a central figure in 18th century U.S. literary history.
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