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Phillis Wheatley (May 8, 1753 – December 5, 1784) was the first African-American poet and first African-American woman to publish her writing. Born in Senegambia, she was sold into slavery at the age of 7 or 8 and transported to North America. She was purchased by the Wheatley family of Boston, who taught her to read and write, and encouraged her poetry when they saw her talent.