• brought to boston as an eight-year-old slavery in 1761, phillis was bought by the wheatley family to serve in their house. the wheatleys saw how bright she was, and gave her an education. phillis became a writer; when she was 20, book of her poetry made her famous. the wheatleys gave her both her freedom and their name, and her achievement as the first slave to publish a book inspired free blacks for many years.