February is Black History month.
Phyllis Wheatley was America's first African-American poet. A bronze sculpture, by Meredith Bergmann, celebrating Ms. Wheatley is on the mall on Commonwealth Ave., Boston, Mass.
Boston Women's Memorial: Phillis Wheatley
Commonwealth Avenue and Fairfield Street, Boston, MA
bronze and granite, 2003
bronze: 59” x 50” x 32”
Wheatley, a slave in colonial Boston, was our first published African-American poet. Her pose is derived from the only extant image of her. She represents youth and Imagination.
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, Christians, Negro's, black as Cain,
May be refin'd, and join th' angelic train.
I read this poem as supremely sarcastic in the poet's intent. "Twas mercy brought me from my "Pagan land..." Really? Mercy took her away from her "Pagan" land? And taught her "benighted soul?" Benighted by the white masters? The most heartbreaking lines are the last 3: "Their colour is a diabolic die."/Remember, Christians, Negro's, black as Cain,/May be refine'd, and join th' angelic train."
After graduating from Melrose High School in the 1980s, Swasey moved to Colorado to pursue a career in competitive figure skating, the Globe reported. After competing in three U.S. Championships for skating and winning a national title in the junior ranks, Swasey became an officer with the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs police force six years ago.Swasey was one of three people killed in the shooting. He leaves behind a wife, two children, his parents, and a sister. Read the full Globe story here.