Written on the stone of which the statue rests upon:
Born in West Africa and sold as a slave from the ship “Phillis” in colonial Boston, she was a literary prodigy whose 1773 volume “Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral” was the first work published by an African writer in America.
“Imagination! Who can sing thy force?
Or who describe the swiftness of thy course?
Soaring through air to find the bright abode,
Th' empyreal palace of the thund'ring God,
We on thy pinions can surpass the wind,
And leave the rolling universe behind:
From star to star the mental optics rove,
Measure the skies, and range the realms above.
There in one view we grasp the mighty whole,
Or with new worlds amaze th' unbounded soul.”
(From the poem “On Imagination”)