Phillis Wheatley Peters, also spelled Phyllis and Wheatly (c. 1753 – December 5, 1784) was the first African-American author of a published book of poetry. Born in West Africa, she was sold into slavery at the age of seven or eight and transported to North America. She was enslaved by the Wheatley family of Boston. After she learned to read and write, they encouraged her poetry when they saw her talent.
Wheatley was emancipated by her masters shortly after the publication of her book. They soon died, and she married poor grocer John Peters, lost three children, and died in poverty and obscurity at the age of 31.