Olaudah Equiano, also known as Gustavus Vassa, was a prominent figure in the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade. Born in what is now modern-day Nigeria, he was kidnapped and sold into slavery at a young age, eventually ending up in the British colonies in North America. In 1789, he published his memoir, "The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African," which detailed his experiences as a slave and his journey to freedom.
As a primary source, "The Interesting Narrative" provides a firsthand account of the atrocities of the transatlantic slave trade and the harsh realities of life as a slave. Equiano writes about the brutal conditions he endured on the Middle Passage, the journey across the Atlantic Ocean during which many slaves died due to disease, starvation, and abuse. He also describes the daily struggles of life on a plantation, including the physical abuse and harsh treatment he and other slaves received at the hands of their masters.
One of the most powerful aspects of "The Interesting Narrative" is its portrayal of the resilience and determination of enslaved people. Despite the constant dehumanization and abuse he faced, Equiano never lost his sense of self or his desire for freedom. He writes about his efforts to learn to read and write, as well as his attempts to purchase his own freedom and eventually escape slavery.
In addition to its value as a personal account of slavery, "The Interesting Narrative" is also significant for its role in the abolition movement. Equiano used his memoir as a tool to advocate for the end of the transatlantic slave trade, and it played a significant role in shaping public opinion on the issue. The book was widely read and helped to bring the horrors of slavery to the attention of the wider public, contributing to the eventual abolition of the slave trade in the British Empire.
Overall, "The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano" is a valuable primary source that offers a unique and powerful perspective on the transatlantic slave trade and the experiences of enslaved people. It provides a poignant and poignant testimony to the resilience of the human spirit and the importance of fighting for freedom and justice.
Assignment 4 PDWs
In this situation I expected every hour to share the fate of my companions, some of whom were almost daily brought upon deck at the point of death, which I began to hope would soon put an end to my miseries. Seldom is one crucial portion of a memoir totally fabricated and the remainder scrupulously accurate; among autobiographers. A printer-friendly version is available. The book was considered an exemplary work of English literature by a new African author. At last, when the ship we were in, had got in all her cargo, they made ready with many fearful noises, and we were all put under deck, so that we could not see how they managed the vessel. Originally slavery existed because of the expanding. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications.
Often did I think many of the inhabitants of the deep much more happy than myself. They told me they could not tell; but that there was cloth put upon the masts by the help of the ropes I saw, and then the vessel went on; and the white men had some spell or magic they put in the water when they liked, in order to stop the vessel. Write an inquiry question to the author that is left unanswered by the document. The clouds appeared to me to be land, which disappeared as they passed along. We thought by this, we should be eaten by these ugly men, as they appeared to us; and, when soon after we were all put down under the deck again, there was much dread and trembling among us, and nothing but bitter cries to be heard all the night from these apprehensions, insomuch, that at last the white people got some old slaves from the land to pacify us.
Those of us that were the most active were, in a moment, put down under the deck; and there was such a noise and confusion amongst the people of the ship as I never heard before, to stop her, and get the boat to go out after the slaves. Other historians also argue that the fact that many parts of Equiano's account can be proven lends weight to accepting his account of African birth. During our passage, I first saw flying fishes, which surprised me very much; they used frequently to fly across the ship, and many of them fell on the deck. Lovejoy uses the name of Vassa in his article, since that was what the man used throughout his life, in "his baptism, his naval records, marriage certificate and will". Telling Our Stories: Continuities and Divergences in Black Autobiographies. Journal of African Studies. I now wished for the last friend, Death, to relieve me; but soon, to my grief, two of the white men offered me eatables; and, on my refusing to eat, one of them held me fast by the hands, and laid me across, I think, the windlass, and tied my feet, while the other flogged me severely.
The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano: Slave Ship
Retrieved 19 January 2013. Retrieved 28 January 2014. This excerpt is particularly telling of the special treatment many children received while traveling the Middle Passage. There are numerous religions with many roles, some have similarities and many have their differences. . The entry in the register reads "Gustus Vasa, 52 years, t Mary Le bone".
They told us we were not to be eaten, but to work, and were soon to go on land, where we should see many of our country people. I find this very significant because it shows how clever and observant African officials and slave traders were during the slave trading process. This, and the stench of the necessary tubs, carried off many. The Life of Olaudah Equiano, or, Gustavus Vassa, the African. Retrieved 14 August 2021. He worked to improve economic, social and educational conditions in Africa.
They told us we were not to be eaten, but to work, and were soon to go on land, where we should see many of our country people. In this manner, without scruple, are relations and friends separated, most of them never to see each other again. Retrieved 26 December 2015. In 1999 while editing a new version of Equiano's memoir, Vincent Carretta, a professor of English at the University of Maryland, found two records that led him to question the former slave's account of being born in Africa. These filled me with astonishment, which was soon converted into terror, when I was carried on board.
Primary Source: Olaudah Equiano Describes the Middle Passage, 1789
. As a child, he should have traveled the Middle Passage on deck, unfettered with the slave women and children. University of Georgia Press. How can we connect the content of this autobiography to the movement to abolish slavery first in Great Britain and then the United States? They also made us jump, and pointed to the land, signifying we were to go there. These filled me with astonishment, which was soon converted into terror, when I was carried on board.
This report eased us much. In this essay I will draw into focus History Of Columbus 's Voyage By Columbus Essay Section One: Essay Section: 1. One of the blacks therefore took it from him and gave it to me, and I took a little down my palate, which, instead of reviving me, as they thought it would, threw me into the greatest consternation at the strange feeling it produced, having never tasted any such liquor before. Equiano eventually purchased his freedom and lived in London where he advocated for abolition. Equiano did so well in sales that he achieved independence from his benefactors.
The book fuelled a growing anti-slavery movement in Great Britain, Europe and the New World. The closeness of the place, and the heat of the climate, added to the number in the ship, which was so crowded that each had scarcely room to turn himself, almost suffocated us. New Light on an Eighteenth-Century Question of Identity", Slavery and Abolition 20, no. So as a reader back then it may have been viewed as an inspirational text but now the contents will most likely be seen as nothing more than a seemingly barbaric time in history. On 21 October 1785 he was one of eight delegates from Africans in America to present an 'Address of Thanks' to the Quakers at a meeting in A Caution to Great Britain and her Colonies by Equiano was befriended and supported by abolitionists, many of whom encouraged him to write and publish his life story.
The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano: Middle Passage
In Africa slavery existed long before European exposure, however, over time the motivation for slavery changed. Historians estimate that approximately 472,000 Africans were kidnapped and brought to the North American mainland between 1619 and 1860. Nevertheless, his book was a very important part of the campaign to abolish slavery in the late 18th century. In The Interesting Narrative the slave trade was in full swing and a capitalist attitude heavily dominates the text, whilst in The Hungry Tide capitalism plays a smaller role and the humanitarian backdrop of the story is a more central theme. The story of his passage into slavery arrived just at a moment when the Equiano was also a very active anti-slavery campaigner in late 18th century London. In this manner we continued to undergo more hardships than I can now relate, hardships which are inseparable from this accursed trade.