African American Cultural Resources

UIW Black History Month Research Showcase 2021

Students in Dr. LuElla D’Amico’s Spring 2021 American Women’s Writing and Popular Culture Class took part in the 12th biennial Society of Early Americanists (SEA) Common Reading Initiative. According to the SEA, “The ‘common reading’ experience has become a popular strategy in U.S. colleges and universities in recent years to help students acclimate to academic life. The experience simultaneously creates a sense of community centered on a single book and showcases diversity of thought as students share their various interactions with the text.” The students read Honorée Fannone Jeffers’ 2020 book of poetry, The Age of Phillis, alongside Phillis Wheatley Peters’ original poetry.

Age of Phillis coverIn The Age of Phillis, Jeffers imagines the life and times of Phillis Wheatley Peters. In 1773, Wheatley Peters published the first book of poetry by a person of African descent in British North America. Jeffers brings alive a legacy of African American poetry for a contemporary audience. Prior to attending the national SEA conference where students met with Jeffers and other students throughout the conference as they participated in the initiative, students in the course presented their original research at UIW during the 2021 Black History Month Research Showcase.

Below are all of the projects from the showcase, during which students were tasked to engage with Jeffers and Wheatley Peters in an imaginative way via an “unessay project.” The general requirements were to make an argument about either one or both authors in whatever platform they deemed best.

Below, note that student Reign Kingsberry was a colloquy panelist during Honoreé Fannone Jeffers’ plenary address at the SEA conference and was selected from a group of national nominations to act in this capacity. Along with Reign, students Jaykcob Martinez, America Sanchez, Journie Gaeta, and Madeline Otting also had featured presentations at the On Demand virtual student center at the SEA conference.

Enjoy perusing all of the excellent creative and intellectual work from the 2021 UIW Black History Month showcase below and learning about more about Honorée Fannone Jeffers, The Age of Phillis, and Phillis Wheatley Peters.

Under the Surface

Presented by America Sanchez

America Sanchez’s project “Under the Surface,” focuses on analyzing a Phillis Wheatley Peters’ poem titled “On Being Brought From Africa to America.” She uses Honorée Jeffers poetry in The Age of Phillis as her main research.

Evening Peace

Presented by Journie Gaeta

Evening Peace by Journie Gaeta

Journie Gaeta’s “Evening Peace” is a digital painting inspired by Phillis Wheatley Peters’s poem “An Hymn to the Evening.” She wanted to combine her passion with Wheatley Peters’s and help share the peace she felt through reading this poem. She also aimed to help readers see the more artistic side of Wheatley Peters; Wheatley Peters not only used her poems to convey powerful messages, but she also showcased her amazing artistic talent. Gaeta hopes people are able to feel the peace Wheatley Peters’s writing brought to her and gain a deeper understanding of the poem.

View a text only copy of "An Hymn to the Evening"

Wheatley Peters’ Patrons: Us

Presented by Reign Kingsberry

Reign Kingsberry project, “Wheatley Peters’ Patrons: Us” WPPU (Wheatley Peters’ Patrons: Us), was created in the hopes to delve deeper into the work of Phillis Wheatley Peters to actively practice being a patron, a supporter, of her work. In the first portion of the first episode, as well as in the description of the podcast, it is explained why the podcast was created, how Kingsberry was introduced to Wheatley Peters, and how the public scholarship will continue for Phillis Wheatley Peters.

Listen to the Podcast Here

Jeffers on Phillis Wheatley Peters

Presented by Acie Thompson

Acie Thompson’s project, “Jeffers on Phillis Wheatley Peters,” looks at two types of mothering. The first poem is about Peters’s birth mother, which is notable because prior to Jeffers, no one had written extensively about Peters’s life in Africa. The second poem is about her surrogate mother and master, Susanna Wheatley. In my Prezi, Thompson presents these poems and point out some of the similarities and differences between the two types of mothering.

View the Presentation via Prezi

Love to All

Presented by Jacob Munoz

Jacob Munoz’s project, “Love to All,” looks at various Phillis Wheatley poems, describing how love was in the eighteenth century and compares it to modern day love. It considers how love has changed and has stayed the same.

 View Jacob's Presentation

Phillis Wheatley, Your Servant and Child

Presented by Maddy Otting

Maddy Otting’s project, “Phillis Wheatley Peters, Your Servant and Child,” analyzes how Susannah Wheatley treated and abused Phillis Wheatley Peters into being a replacement daughter. She does his by looking at Jeffers’ poems “Mothering #2,” “The Mistress Attempts to Instruct her Slave in the Writing of a Poem,” and “Lost Letter #1.”

A Comparison of Writers: Phillis Wheatley Peters and Honorée Fanonne Jeffers

Presented by Byonca Owens

Byonca Owens’s project, “A Comparison of Writers: Phillis Wheatley Peters and Honorée Fanonne Jeffers,” was created to provide an analysis with annotations of two writers, Wheatley Peters and Jeffers, who had different approaches to writing. These differences are caused by three primary categories that distinguish the writers: audience, purpose, and time. Acknowledging this, readers can accurately analyze Wheatley Peters and Jeffers with context befitting the writers individually.

View Byonca's Presentation

Phillis Wheatley Peters’s Influence Today and her Revolution

Presented by Jaykcob Martinez

Jaykcob Martinez’s “Phillis Wheatley Peters’s Influence Today and her Revolution” is a presentation that demonstrates and supports how the work of Phillis Wheatley Peters during her life, and especially during the American Revolution, continues to resonate today. The argument is that the way in which those who inspire us can make a profound impact on our future. That inspiration can set in motion a ripple effect across generations, even affecting our collective intellectual and creative possibilities.

The Legacy of Phillis Wheatley: Changing Society One Poem at a Time.

Presented by Casey Carangelo

Casey Carangelo’s project, “The Legacy of Phillis Wheatley: Changing Society One Poem at a Time,” was created to highlight Phillis Wheatley Peter’s accomplishments and show how much she contributed to American Literature and society as a whole. The presentation gives a brief backstory of Phillis Wheatley and then dives into one of her many sensational poems, “On Being Brought from Africa to America.” The goal of this presentation is to show how Phillis Wheatley Peters redefined what it meant to be an African American and for that, her legacy will live on forever.