Ashley M. Jones and Phillis Wheatley Peters

The Beat

Apr 28 2022 • 9 mins

Ashley M. Jones is Alabama's first African American Poet Laureate, and she's also the youngest. Her books are Magic City Gospel, dark // thing, and REPARATIONS NOW! She teaches creative writing at the Alabama School of Fine Arts and also at the Low Residency MFA program at Converse University.

Phillis Wheatley Peters was abducted in West Africa and brought to Boston where she was sold as a slave when she was around seven year old. Her first and only book, Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, was published in 1773. She was in poor health for most of her life, and she died in her early thirties. According to the Smithsonian Institute, she was the “first American slave, the first person of African descent, and only the third colonial American woman to have her work published.”


Read the poems

Think of a Marvelous Thing / It’s the Same as Having Wings at Inspicio Arts

"Harriet Tubman Crosses the Mason-Dixon for the First Time" at Oxford American

"On Being Brought from Africa to America" at

Ashley M. Jones

Ashley M. Jones’ website

Jones’ Bio and Poems at the Poetry Foundation

“Alabama's First Black Poet Laureate Takes A Personal Approach To 'Reparations” on NPR

Interview with Ashley M. Jones at The Reckon

“How to Become a Poet: A Conversation with Ashley M. Jones” at The Rumpus

Phillis Wheatley Peters

Bio and Poems at the Poetry Foundation

“The Multiple Truths in the Works of Enslaved Poet Phillis Wheatley” by Drea Brown

Phillis Wheatley Historical Society

Wheatley’s Bio and Poems at Massachusetts Historical Society Collections Online

Music is by Chad Crouch.

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