Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Mr. Gilbert Morris

Second Advisor

Dr. Herman Sandford

Third Advisor

Mr. Everett Slavens


This study is an investigation into the life and poetry of Phillis Wheatley, the first Negro woman to have her writings published. Its purpose was to discover Miss Wheatley's place in American literature. The background of Miss Wheatley's life in Puritan New England has been examined. For comparison, books on Negro culture, history, and literature have been studied.

In the study of Miss Wheatley's life an attempt was made to point out the correlation between the training, education and culture to which Miss Wheatley was exposed and the relevance of her writings to the era in which she wrote.

The study has concluded that, although Miss Wheatley's works are not of major importance, she has a contribution to make to the tradition of American literature. While her writings have little emotional appeal to present-day readers, the story of her life and the best of her works are deserving of attention in the anthologies purporting to summarize the American heritage.



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