In today’s episode of Fierce — a new podcast from iHeartRadio and Tribeca Studios, which highlights the extraordinary women who never made it into our history books — host Jo Piazza shares the story of a young girl who defied all odds to become a prolific poet: Phillis Wheatley. Named for the slave ship that carried her from West Africa, Phillis was the first African American woman to publish a book of poetry in the United States. Eventually, she used her considerable talents to convince the people who owned her to return her freedom to her.
The story of Phillis’s complicated journey is followed by a conversation with world-renowned poet Nikki Giovanni, who talks to Jo about the origins of African American poetry and the evolving narrative about Phillis Wheatley’s place in history. Fierce is available on iHeartRadio and everywhere podcasts are heard — listen now below.