"We’ll call her Phillis."
In 1761, a young African girl was sold to the Wheatley family in Boston, who named her Phillis after the slave schooner that had carried her. Kidnapped from her home in Africa and shipped to America, she’d had everything taken from her - her family, her name, and her language.
But Phillis Wheatley was no ordinary young girl. She had a passion to learn, and the Wheatleys encouraged her, breaking with unwritten rule in New England to keep slaves illiterate. Amid the tumult of the Revolutionary War, Phillis Wheatley became a poet and ultimately had a book of verse published, establishing herself as the first African American woman poet this country had ever known. She also found what had been taken away from her and from slaves everywhere: a voice of her own.
About the Author
Paul Lee is a painter and freelance illustrator. He has illustrated the acclaimed AMISTAD RISING by Veronica Chambers, and THE GOOD LUCK CAT by Joy Harjo. While working on A VOICE OF HER OWN, Paul Lee had to do considerable research to make sure the illustrations were historically accurate - research that even entailed renting costumes from a local opera house.