Inside the Vault: The Lives and Works of Phillis Wheatley and Elizabeth Keckley
by Gilder Lehrman Staff
On the February 4, 2021 session of Inside the Vault: Highlights from the Gilder Lehrman Collection, our curators talk with English Language Arts educator Jeanette Providence and Hamilton cast member Krystal Mackie about the lives and works of Phillis Wheatley and Elizabeth Keckley. Both women were born into slavery, became free, and built a lasting legacy. We learn about their lives and take a close look at the poetry of Phillis Wheatley (1753–1784) and the autobiography of Elizabeth Keckley (1818–1907), one of the most sought-after dressmakers in Washington DC.
Click here to download the slides from the presentation.
Classroom-ready resources for the documents presented
- Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral by Phillis Wheatley, 1773
- Behind the Scenes, or Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House by Elizabeth Keckely, 1868
- Essay: “A Poem Links Unlikely Allies in 1775: Phillis Wheatley and George Washington” by Professor James G. Basker, Spring 2014 issue of History Now
- Primary Source: “His Excellency General Washington” by Phillis Wheatley, 1775, Spring 2014 issue of History Now
- Essay: “African Americans and Emancipation” by Professor Manisha Sinha
- Spotlight on Primary Source: “Phillis Wheatley’s Poem on Tyranny and Slavery, 1772”
- Video: Anti-Slavery Literature in the Founding Era, featuring Professor James G. Basker
Use the timestamps below to jump to the documents you want to view
- Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral by Phillis Wheatley: 5:50– 8:02
- “His Excellency General Washington” by Philis Wheatley: 18:04–27:25
- Behind the Scenes, or Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House by Elizabeth Keckely: 27:26–48:03