Abstract

This essay contends that Phillis Wheatley’s work can be understood best by interpreting her work from an African Muslim rather than a Christian standpoint (as over two hundred years of Western criticism has done). To support this view, the article employs African Muslim slave demographics from the Americas, African Muslim slave statements and narratives, colonial historical documents, Wheatley’s biographical material, her poems, and Qur’anic references. As a result of this research, the essay concludes that the progenitor of African American literature probably was Muslim, and suggests ways that this perspective challenges mainstream—and even prevailing African American—criticism concerning Wheatley.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1945-6182
Print ISSN
1062-4783
Pages
pp. 1-15
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-17
Open Access
No
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