October 18

October 18, 1775 – Phillis Wheatley Freed From Slavery

Phillis Wheatley frontispiece

Image of Phillis Wheatley

On October 18, 1775, Phillis Wheatley, the country’s first African American poet to publish a book was freed from slavery. Wheatley was born in West Africa and sold as a slave at age seven to the Wheatley family in Boston, Massachusetts. She received assistance from John Wheatley and his daughters in learning how to read.  She became proficient not only in English, but she could also read Greek and Latin. Her reading and writing skills aided her into becoming a poet at a young age.  “Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral”. was published In 1773 by Wheatley.   She was recognized in the American Colonies and England for her poetic talents.  In 1775 when John Wheatley died, Phillis Wheatley was given her freedom.  She died on December 5, 1784 in Boston at age 31.

 

The Day After – October 17, 2019 – Congressman Elijah Eugene Cummings

 

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Rep. Elijah Cummings

Congressman Elijah Cummings, Chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform died yesterday, Thursday, October 17, 2019 at age 68.  Congressman Cummings was born on January 18, 1951 to Robert and Ruth Cummings in Baltimore, Maryland where he lived until his death.  He was married to Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings and was the father of three children.


Congressman Elijah Cummings Remembered!

He received his undergraduate Political Science degree from Howard University in Washington, DC where he served as Student Government President and graduated Phi Beta Kappa.  Cummings would go on to receive his law degree from the University of Maryland School of Law,  He started his political career as a representative in the Maryland House of Delegates where he served for fourteen years and was named the first African American Speaker Pro Tempore.  In 1996 he was elected as a Representative from Maryland’s 7th Congressional District. He served in this position until his death.

Congressman Cummings will be remembered as a  a giant of a man whose statue became even larger with greater impact during the most recent days of congressional hearings and governmental investigations.  His voice echoed with emotion throughout these recent months as he stood strong in his fight for truth.