Phillis Wheatley on the streets of revolutionary Boston and in the Atlantic world

Betsy Erkkila*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Many of the major crowd actions in Boston during the American Revolution—the Stamp Act riots of 1765, the arrival of 4,000 British Troops at Long Wharf in 1768, the murder of Christopher Snider in a street action in 1770, and the Boston Massacre on March 5, 1770—took place on or around King Street, the street where Phillis Wheatley lived. As indicated by Wheatley’s poems on the King’s repeal of the Stamp Act, the murder of Snider, and the Boston Massacre, this essay argues that more so than we have imagined, Wheatley was probably a participant in the street actions on King Street and other crowd actions in Revolutionary Boston during the war.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)351-372
Number of pages22
JournalEarly American Literature
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2021


  • African and Native American freedom struggle
  • African slavery
  • American revolution
  • Boston Massacre
  • Christopher Snider
  • Crispus Attucks
  • Crowd action
  • Evangelical revival
  • George Washington
  • Granville Sharp
  • Laboring classes
  • Phillis Wheatley
  • Poems on various subjects
  • Religious and moral
  • Revolutionary Boston
  • Samson Occom
  • Stamp act
  • Transatlantic antislavery struggle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Literature and Literary Theory


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