Lucy Wheatley's Influence On African American Literature

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African -American history predated the emergence of the United States as an independent country, and African – American literature was similarly deep roots. Lucy Terry was the author of the oldest known piece of African – American literature, “Bars Fight”. Terry wrote the balled in 1746 after an Indian attack on Deer field. She was enslaved in Deerfield at the time of the attack. The balled was first published in 1854, with an additional couplet, in the Springfield Republican and in 1885 in Josiah Holland’s History of western Massachusetts.
Wheatley (1753 –1784) a poet, published her book poems on various subjects in 1773, three years before American independence. Wheatley was not only the first African American to publish a book but also the first to achieve an international reputation as a writer. Born in Senegal, Wheatley was captured and sold into slavery at the age of seven. Brought to America, she was owned by a Boston merchant. By the time she was sixteen, she had mastered her new language of English. Her poetry was praised by many of the leading figures of the American Revolution, including George Washington, who thanked her for a poem written in his honor. Some whites found it hard to believe that a Black woman could write such refined people. Wheatley had to defend herself in court to prove that she had written her work.
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In broad terms, African – American literature can be defined as writings by people of African descent living in the United States. It was highly varied. African American literature has generally focused on the role of African Americans within the larger American society and what it means to be an
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