Biography: 

As a child slave, Phillis Wheatley was shipped on the Phillis to Boston from West Africa, possibly the Gambia river region, on July 11, 1761, when she was about 7-8 years of age. Susanna Wheatley, a Christian and wife of merchant John Wheatley, purchased her. Taught by Susanna's daughter Mary, Phillis began writing by 1765.

Biography: 

Frances Ellen Watkins was born September 25, 1825, in Baltimore, Maryland. After receiving an education at her uncle's school, and working in a book store, she turned to publishing. A book of poetry entitled Forest leaves came out in 1845, no copy of which has survived.

Biography: 

Lizelia Augusta Jenkins Moorer taught at the Normal School, Chaflin College, Orangeburg, South Carolina, in 1895-96, and in 1897-98 and 1898-99 was an instructor in the second-grade Grammar School there. (I am grateful to Marilyn G. Pringle, Library Director at Chaflin, for undertaking the archival work that for the first time provides information on Moorer's life.)

Biography: 

George Moses Horton was born in slavery about 1797 on William Horton's tobacco plantation in Northampton Country, North Carolina. Growing up as a cow-hand in Chatham county, where his master moved, George educated himself to read scripture and to make poems. At 17 years old, he became the property of William's son James and was set to work at a horse-drawn plough.

Biography: 

Born in Dayton, Ohio, and raised by his mother, Paul Dunbar stood out as the only black student in Central High School, the class poet, the editor of the school newspaper, and the president of its literary club, the Philomathean Society.

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