Sunday, March 14, 2010
Hang a Thousand Trees with Ribbons by Ann Rinaldi
During her stay in their home, Nathaniel the son decided to teach Phillis how to read and write. Thankfully, compared to other slaveholders the Wheatley family tried to treat their slaves as people and not animals. Therefore, Phillis Wheatley's ability to catch on so quickly brought the family happiness.
Before the American Revolution Phillis Wheatley would have traveled to Europe. She would have met Benjamin Franklin. She came close to meeting the King and Queen of England. She did meet and share a long conversation with George Washington, the first President of America.
What does Phillis Wheatley's life have to do with our lives today? Her ability to learn to read and write poetry using Greek and Roman Mythology in her poems proved to Americans Africans could learn to the Arts and to think creatively.
Her poems are very rich in beauty. Sadly, she never forgot her homeland. Phillis Wheatley would remember her mother's daily lessons. She continued to practice pouring water out before the sun in the early morning hours. However, she was quickly named a pagan. In precise terms she was told to forget whatever she had been taught in the country of her birth, Africa.
I am very proud of Phillis Wheatley. Although she learned to read and write, life never was easy for her. She is a heroine to any ethnic community willing to accept her because all of us until this day her bound to something stronger than ourselves. This bondage causes people to understand the real meaning and importance of the word freedom.