Printed Works

Poems on Various Subjects

Phillis Wheatley was the first published African-American poet, and her 1773 Poems on Various Subjects was lauded in both Europe and the American colonies as evidence of the artistic and intellectual equality of people of African descent. This original copy of her work, signed by Wheatley, is displayed in the Museum beneath a reconstruction of Boston’s Liberty Tree, inviting visitors to reflect on the contradictions inherent in colonial Americans' struggle for liberty alongside continued African-American slavery.