Phyllis Wheatley – blue plaque unveiling 16 July 2019

mpment of unveiling

Attended the unveiling of a blue plaque to Phyllis Wheatley. This famous African poet had to come to London from the US in 1773 to find a publisher for her poetry. She was born in The Gambia  and by the age of 15 was fluent in Latin, Greek and English and was publishing her poetry in her teens. No publishing house in US would touch her work.

She met Granville Sharp among many British dignitaries and also Benjamin Franklin. She  corresponded with George Washington and George III, then King of England.

It was a very joyous event held with great tribute to the poetess. Dr Jak Beula (aka Nubian Jak) did an excellent and scholarly preparation. There was appropriate emphasis that Phyllis Wheatley was not her name and we have lost her Gambian name which would have been a Twi name. In honour of her origins a Twi ceremony was performed. 

One of Dr Jak’s key points was the continuation of generations and consequently some school students gave a presentation in her honour. The audience was moved by these youngsters saying how inspiring they found the story of Phyllis Wheatley , that is despite her poverty and difficult circumstances she could achieve so much that it inspired them that  they too could achieve great things.

school children reciting in honour of Phyllis Wheatley

Margaret Busby (an old friend)  made an excellent speech. 

Busby speaking at unveiling ceremony

A wonderful singer sang the spiritual ‘Sometimes I feel like a motherless child a long way from home’ which brought tears to some eyes (not just mine) as it reflected so much Phyllis Wheatley situation. Then the plaque was unveiled on the site of her UK publisher.

singing the spiritual – ‘sometimes I feel like a motherless child’

Well done Dr Jak Beula!!!!