Sunday, May 27, 2018

Royal wedding was beautiful, but how about that sermon?

From West Virginia -

When valorizing Whitfield’s rhetorical aptitude, it would have been just as appropriate for someone to have celebrated that of the poem’s author, for nobody in the colonies was as talented a versifier as her.

The 17-year-old author of the poem was so brilliant in composition that, two years after her lyric for Whitfield, a committee of Harvard scholars was convened to interrogate the woman and to deliberate as to whether she was the author of the verse (they concluded that she was).

Their unfounded suspicions were characteristic of the bigotry of the time, for the woman’s last name was “Wheatley” from the Massachusetts family that owned her, and her first name was “Phillis” after the slave ship which stole her from Africa.

Gates calls the example of Phillis Wheatley the “primal scene of African-American letters.” For Gates and other scholars, Wheatley marks the nascent stirrings of the unique, powerful, full-throated American vernacular of black literature, whose voice has indelibly marked not just our writing, but our preaching, our creating, our laughing and our singing.

More here-

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