Born in Gambia around 1753, Phillis Wheatley was sold into slavery and transported to the New World on the slave ship Phillis, after which she was named. In Boston, she was purchased by John Wheatley, a merchant. Wheatley educated Phillis and she excelled under their tutelage. She mastered Latin and Greek, and began writing poetry when she was 13 years old. Her poems were well received in Boston and London, and she was encouraged by the Countess of Huntingdon to publish her work. Many doubted Wheatley’s abilities, however, and she had to endure inspection by Boston notables, including John Hancock. In 1773, she finally received her due as a poet, earning recognition from George Washington and Benjamin Franklin. Wheatley, the first published African American woman poet, is regarded as a founding figure of black literature. Wheatley’s was only the third book of poetry to be published by an American woman.