My Name Is Phillis Wheatley: A Story of Slavery and Freedom
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.
Afua Cooper is a Professor in the Departments of Sociology and Social Anthropology at Dalhousie University, where she also holds cross appointments in History and Gender and Women Studies.
Other publications from this author include:
- Black Matters (2020)
- A Fluid Frontier: Slavery, Resistance, and the Underground Railroad in the Detroit River Borderland (2016)
- Acts of Resistance: Black Men and Women Engage Slavery in Upper Canada, 1793-1803 (2007)
- Multiple Lenses: Voices from the Diaspora located in Canada (2007)
- The Hanging Of Angelique: The Untold Story of Canadian Slavery and the Burning of Old Montreal (2007)
- Copper Woman and Other Poems (2006)
- THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD: Next Stop, Toronto! (2002)
- Utterances and Incantations: Women, Poetry and Dub (1999)
- Memories Have Tongue: Poetry (1992)
- Red Caterpillar on College Street (1992)
- Breaking Chains (1983)