- Chautauqua to Feature Phillis Wheatley and George Washington
Mount Vernon - George Washington’s connection to enslaved poet Phillis Wheatley illustrates “a telling example of his moral complexity and capacity for humanitarian understanding,” argues Adam Meehan, a doctoral candidate in Literature at The University of Arizona. Wheatley was brought to Boston from West Africa at only seven years of age. Uncommon to the practices of the time, Wheatley was formally educated, tutored by her owners’ daughter in subjects such as Greek, Latin and poetry. At just twelve years old, Wheatley began writing poetry and her works became well-known by the time she was eighteen.
In December of 1775, soon after his appointment to lead the Continental Army, Washington received a letter from Wheatley that included an ode written in his honor. The poem must have struck Washington as it prompted the only known letter that he wrote to a slave. In his letter, Washington extended an invitation for Wheatley to meet at his Cambridge, Massachusetts headquarters.
On Thursday March 13, 2014, The Knox County Chautauqua Series features Phillis Wheatley [Sandra Quick] and George Washington [Ken Hammontree] sharing their rare connection, especially for the time and circumstances. The program is organized by the members of Elixir and presented on a donation basis at 7 PM (doors open at 6 PM to allow those with special help to get seated in this first floor facility). The program is held at ThePlace@TheWoodward (111 S. Main Street in downtown Mount Vernon, OH) and supported in part by Rolls-Royce Charities/Civics Fund and Ariel Foundation.
For more information on this program or upcoming historical first person living history programs, visit www.elixirpresents.com, www.VisitKnoxOhio.org or call 740-392-6102.
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