About seven years before the birth of Phillis Wheatley, Lucy Terry penned the earliest known work of literature by an African-American (and her only poem). She was born in Africa in 1724. Kidnapped as an infant, she was sold into slavery in around 1730. Upon her marriage, in 1756, to a free black named Obijah Prince, she was no longer a slave. Lucy Terry was determined that her six children have an education and she was known as a great orator and fierce advocate for the civil rights of black people. She died in Vermont on July 11, 1821.
(from the Norton Anthology of African American Literature.Gates, McKay, Andrews, Baker, Christian, Foster, McDowell, O’Meally, Rampersad, Spillers, Wall.2004. )