On Being Brought from Africa to America

On Being Brought from Africa to America


‘Twas mercy brought me from my Pagan land,
Taught my benighted soul to understand
That there’s a God, that there’s a Saviour too:
Once I redemption neither sought nor knew.
Some view our sable race with scornful eye,
“Their colour is a diabolic die.”
Remember, ChristiansNegros, black as Cain,
May be refin’d, and join th’ angelic train.
This poem explores the transnational plight of diaspora.  Phillis Wheatly, author and narrator, was kidnapped from Africa at age seven and brought to America.  The poem makes the point that even though she suffered the horror of slavery, it taught her “benighted soul” to find God.  Furthermore, by saying the word “REMEMBER” in the second to last line, she speaks to all those that undergo the struggle of diaspora.
Through her pain comes enlightenment and she wishes to spread this sentiment.
Their colour is a diabolic die reflects the harsh racism that she had to encounter.  The color of her skin and the judgement that comes with it is something that she must constantly carry with her.
Thanks, Eliza Mitnick

One thought on “On Being Brought from Africa to America”

  1. I interpreted this poem as being more bitter; the speaker is told that she was “saved” by arriving in the United States and converting to Christianity, but the poem suggests that in her home country there was no suggestion that she needed to be “saved” from anything, or that her skin colour was associated with the devil or the mark of Cain.



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