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phyllis wheatley

             I strongly disagree with the criticism made by Baraka and others regarding the
             works of Phyllis Wheatley. Indeed it would seem that social commentators find it
             very easy to criticize writers for their views on many civil issues without
             understanding the historical context and social atmosphere of that time. It is
             argued that the spirituals, ballads, and other forms of expression for slaves
             were often censored. I would then like to insert the argument that the area of
             literature in which Wheatley published her works was highly censored since she
             was first African American slave to be formally recognized as a writer. As with
             the spirituals, work songs, and ballads Wheatley's poems hold subtle but
             important messages about her enslaved race, her message of spiritual redemption
             parallels the implications of the spirituals.
             In Wheatley's poem, "On Being Brought from Africa to America", the similarity
             of her writing to the message of the spirituals is apparent in carefully placed
             lines throughout the poem. At first glance it would appear that Wheatley is
             grateful that she was made a slave, but in closer examination you find the same
             solace of spiritual salvation that is sung in the spirituals. "That there's is a
             God, that there's a Savior too".(line 3) The promise of a "Savior", a deliverer
             or rescuer of people, is the knowledge that Wheatley is grateful to have
             learned. Wheatley's poem also identifies the oppression and contempt of being a
             slave, "Some view our sable race with scornful eye" and the country's supposed
             biblical justification "Negroes, black as Cain". In her poem Wheatley reminds
             not only her fellow African American's but Christians as well that all
             Christians, black and white, are admitted into heaven.
             Wheatley's poems and letters discuss freedom and redemption in a language that
             is different than the vernacular that was used in the spirituals and ba

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