Phillis Wheatley Research Paper

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Are African Americans capable of doing the same things a white person can? Henry Louis Gates Jr., a college professor, spoke on behalf of the African American poet, Phillis Wheatley, about her trials and the racial bias she had to endure her whole life which continued even after her death. These trials created an essential question: Should the reading of literature be free of racial bias? On July 11 of 1761, Phillis came to Boston from her mother land. Bought by slave owner John Wheatley and was taught how to read and write from his daughter Mary. “Phillis spoke no English, and Mary apparently with her mother’s encouragement, began to teach her to read, tutoring her in English, Latin and the bible” (Henry Louis Gates Jr.). Four year later…show more content…
They say after a certain age it is nearly impossible to learn how to read and write, but Phillis Wheatley was a prodigy. She was around seven or eight when she arrived at America and was taught how to read. On October 8 of 1772, Phillis Wheatley was on trial, but not for committing a crime. This trials purpose was to validate whether or not she wrote her own poems and more importantly “to answer a much larger question: was a Negro capable of producing literature?” (Henry Louis Gates Jr.) during these times, slaves weren’t even considered human in the eyes of slave holders. To them they were objects, not subjects. So on the day of her trial, Phillis Wheatley stood before eighteen of the most influential thinkers and politicians, such as Thomas Hutchinson, Andrew Oliver, and John Hancock. “She was on trial, and so was her race” (Henry Louis Gates Jr.); if they decide whether she wrote the poems, which they did, then it will prove that slaves, or Africans in general, are not as ignorant as they thought them to be. On December 5 of 1784, Phillis Wheatley died poor and alone at the early age of

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