Free Audio Friday: Phillis Wheatley

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Elizabeth has another Free Audio Friday selection for Black History Month: the first book of poetry published by an African-American writer, Phillis Wheatley. You can download and listen to Elizabeth’s reading of these poems for free here. Born in West Africa, Wheatley was sold into slavery at age seven, and bought by a wealthy Massachusetts family who taught her to read and write. Her extraordinary literary gifts led to the publication of her “Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral,” and to her eventual emancipation by her owners. Although some of the poems demonstrate an apparent acceptance of the racist values of the white slave-owning classes (which viewed Africans as savage), Wheatley’s considerable talents simultaneously contradicted these stereotypes. Her story is a seminal entry in the history of African-American literature. Happy Friday, and happy listening!

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