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Poems on Various Subjects


Phillis Wheatley Peters’ (1753-1784) Poems on Various Subjects was published to great acclaim and curiosity in 1773. The volume of poetry revealed an ample knowledge of Greek and Latin classical references, the Bible, and the great thinkers of the Enlightenment. Wheatley's poetry counteracted the belief that Africans and women lacked intellect. Demonstrating she was not a singular figure, Wheatley Peters dedicated a poem, "To S. M. a young African Painter, on seeing his works"—to fellow enslaved artist, Scipio Moorhead, who provided the engraving of Wheatley Peters that is the best-known illustration of her.