Phillis Wheatley

(1753 – 5 December 1784 / Gambia)

On Being Brought From Africa To America - Poem by Phillis Wheatley

'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, Negro's, black as Cain,
May be refin'd, and join th' angelic train.


Comments about On Being Brought From Africa To America by Phillis Wheatley

  • (10/18/2018 5:16:00 AM)


    Yes I think she was being sarcastic, as blacks were considered demonic, savage, and unrefined based on the Judaeo-Christian misinterpretation of the Bible. Cursed Children of Ham... Yes in Senegambia there was academia, culture and literacy. the region is Muslim and there were Quranic schools. Teacher from both Guinea and Mali t(Timbuktu) taught in these area even till today. (Report) Reply

    1 person liked.
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  • (10/11/2018 2:01:00 PM)


    tbh I'd rather read a poem about the hit new video game Fortnite: Battle Royale (Report) Reply

  • (9/18/2018 8:05:00 AM)


    nice! great poem phillis, you will always be remembered for your sweet poems! (Report) Reply

  • (9/4/2018 2:20:00 PM)


    Food please (Report) Reply

  • (8/27/2018 2:33:00 AM)


    Can feel the acrid sense of lost hope.....a nyc feel (Report) Reply

  • (6/4/2018 7:16:00 AM)


    lasi mo gakiliwi nhoihiooihhioihoiohiohiohioi (Report) Reply

  • (5/23/2018 3:58:00 PM)


    Jhjhjhjhjhjjhjh you are a f word nig piece of garbage go die its better than any thing you can write make it way better you peace of trash (Report) Reply

  • (3/2/2018 9:53:00 AM)


    what is the theme guyyssssss (Report) Reply

  • (2/20/2018 9:14:00 AM)


    On being brought from Africa should be read as ironic. (Report) Reply

  • (2/19/2018 6:28:00 PM)


    how the did she not find a publisher? ? ? ? ? these poems are good! (Report) Reply

  • (2/18/2018 1:55:00 PM)


    nice
    very goodddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddd
    (Report) Reply

  • (2/12/2018 10:23:00 AM)


    Nice poem (Report) Reply

  • (2/2/2018 12:25:00 PM)


    garbaggggggggggggggggggeeeeeee (Report) Reply

  • Denis Mair (1/5/2018 4:32:00 AM)


    Either there is and note of irony in this or she's trying to find the silver lining in a pretty messed-up cloud: ONCE I REDEMPTION NEITHER SOUGHT NOR KNEW. (Report) Reply

  • Bernard F. Asuncion (1/5/2018 2:42:00 AM)


    Such a great poem by Phillis Wheatley👍👍👍 (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (1/5/2018 2:39:00 AM)


    My Pagan Land! ! Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report) Reply

  • (1/5/2018 2:39:00 AM)


    She composed it with a smile of gratitude, but with some bitterness in her tone...................thanks for sharing (Report) Reply

  • Rajnish Manga (1/5/2018 1:18:00 AM)


    Great portrayal. A tortuous journey will hopefully end in the desired territory of love, equality and justice Thanks. (Report) Reply

  • Susan Williams (10/21/2015 3:35:00 PM)


    There's a lot of well-written comments on this poem printed below. Sarcasm could definitely be a key to this poem, but I would toss into the discussion that there is a history of the slaves embracing Christianity and there was nothing sarcastic in their belief. They found comfort in Jesus Christ and in the promise of happiness in heaven. Being the rare educated slave, she may have mocked the beliefs of her fellows, the inferior field slaves. I hate to think that. Sometimes high education can lead to arrogance but I don't want to see that trait in the poet. Besides, I sense a sincerity in her. She could very well be thankful that she was brought from a country that did not know Christianity to a country where she learned about the religion and was given the high education she would never have received in Africa. She seems to have been well treated and valued so perhaps she felt she was better off than she would have been in Africa where she may have lived in a slavery to African cultural beliefs that women were cattle. Just a thought. I find myself swaying back and forth on the issue of sarcasm versus sincerity. (Report) Reply

    Denis Mair (1/5/2018 4:55:00 AM)

    After reading the earlier comments and contrasting them with what you say, I wonder if it's possible she was being both sincere AND ironical. An example of such a mixture would be the poetry of Sherman Alexie. He is a Catholic, and he wrote fondly about a Catholic priest who had served selflessly on the Cour-de-Aleine reservation. Or Shusaku Endo's meditation on how Christianity entered Asia in his LIFE OF JESUS.

    Denis Mair (1/5/2018 4:37:00 AM)

    Whoops, I see that you addressed squarely the point that I touched on in my later comment.

  • (1/28/2015 9:30:00 AM)


    Phillis Wheatley is a really good poet. (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: remember, africa, america, god



Poem Submitted: Thursday, January 1, 2004



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