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Interesting US History
A Website Devoted to Interesting Events in U.S. History





October 18, 1773

African-American Poet Phillis Wheatley is Freed From Slavery

On this day in 1773, Phillis Wheatley was freed by her master John Wheatley after she had become famous.

Phillis Wheatley was born about 1753 in West Africa but was captured in 1761, taken to America and sold to John Wheatley as a slave. Unlike many slave owners at the time, John Wheatley and his wife helped to educate Phillis. She was a supporter of American independence and her poems and plays became popular even earning her an appearance in front of George Washington.

After being freed, Phillis stayed with the Wheatley family until John Wheatley died and the family broke up. She died in a boarding house at the age of 31 due to complications of childbirth.