250th Anniversary of Phillis Wheatley's Baptism

250th anniversary of Phillis Wheatley's baptism

Ten years after her enslavement and arrival in America, Phillis Wheatley chose to be baptized in what is now the Old South Meeting House on August 18, 1771. As a member of the church, she found a community and a deep spiritual connection, but she also likely felt some unease sharing fellowship with white congregants who owned slaves.

To mark the 250th anniversary of Wheatley’s baptism, we have teamed with Old South Church to ask four different local black women leaders to reflect on her work and how it has impacted Black people’s fight for liberation in America.

Featured in this video are:

  • Dr. Deborah Washington, Director of Diversity for Nursing and Patient Care Services, MGH
  • Cheryl Harris, Diversity and Inclusion Consultant and CEO, Cheryl Harris and Associates, Inc
  • Jessica Young Chang, MDiv student class of 2022 and President of the HDS Student Association at Harvard Divinity School
  • Reamogetje (Amo) Ngoepe, Pastoral Resident, Urban Pastoral Ministry Program, City Mission/Old South Church in Boston

Below, you can also find extended cuts of each speaker’s thoughts, featuring their unique perspectives and personal insights into the legacy of Phillis Wheatley as a pioneering writer, a woman of faith, and a voice for the Black experience in America.


August 18, 2021


Imagining the Age of Phillis Film Series

Watch the short film series directed by John Oluwole ADEkoje that brings a selection of the poems from Honorée Fanonne Jeffers’s book to life and dive deeper into the life and times of Phillis Wheatley Peters.