African American Poetry

Phillis Wheatley (c. 1753-1784)

Things to Consider:

** Homework Questions **

On being brought from AFRICA to AMERICA
'TWAS mercy brought me from my pagan land,
Taught my benighted soul to understand
That there's a God, that there's a Saviour too:
Once I redemption neither sought nor knew.
Some view our sable race with scornful eye,
"Their colour is a diabolic die."
Remember, Christians, Negros, black as Cain,
May be refin'd, and join th' angelic train.

The Collected Works of Phillis Wheatley.  Ed. Henry Louis Gates, Jr.  NY: Oxford UP, 1988.  18.

"To His Excellency George Washington"
Alice Walker, "In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens"
See Essay
  • What does Walker refer to when she mentions "submission to an alien religion"?
  • What are "contrary instincts"?
  • 169:
    Other Discussion Questions:
    "On being brought from AFRICA to AMERICA" "To His Excellency George Washington" Walker:
    166: 168: 169: 170: 171: 172:

    Another Poem to Consider:
    from "On the Death of General Wooster" (July 1778)
    Background Information 
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