Welcome to February (or the Next Level of Jumanji – however you want to look at it) everyone! February 1st marks the start of Black History Month in America, where we pause to recall the achievements that African American people have made and the many things that they have provided this great nation and the world. It’s also a chance to reflect on the many hardships African American people have endured throughout American history and continue the conversations that will lead to the changes necessary to improve life for black people moving forward. Each week I will be sharing resources and notable figures who deserve to be recognized and celebrated for their contribution to society.
You can visit https://www.africanamericanhistorymonth.gov/ for more information and resources – including keynote speakers – about Black History Month.
To kick off our celebration of key figures I have a personal favourite – Phillis Wheatley. The West African-born poet spent most of her life enslaved, working for John Wheatley – a wealthy Boston merchant and tailor, who bought the young girl as a slave for his wife Susanna as a servant in the mid-1700s. Despite never having received a formal education, Wheatley became the first African American and third woman to publish a book of poems, entitled ‘Poems on Various Subjects’. However, she died before securing a publisher for her second volume of poetry and letters. You can see the monument erected for her if you ever visit the Boston Women’s Memorial.
More information on Poet Phillis Wheatley here – https://poets.org/book/poems-various-subjects-religious-and-moral