Equiano 's Narrative And Reversing Sail By Michael Gomez Essay

Equiano 's Narrative And Reversing Sail By Michael Gomez Essay

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Growing up in the United States, many Americans have come to learn that the slave trade often started on the West African coast, but after reading Olaudah Equiano’s narrative and Reversing Sail written by Michael Gomez, we can see that the slave trade was already transpiring way before the trans-Atlantic trade. Before the European trade even occurred, there were systems of slavery that were happening already within different provinces or districts. Based on Equiano’s narrative, he observed “that their subjection to the king of Benin was little more than nominal; for every transaction of the government was conducted by chiefs or elders of the place” (Equiano 5). Based on that, we can see that there were designated chiefs, kings, and judges in his home community, Eboe. Equiano also mentioned that since the province of Eboe is so far from the sea, he had never heard of it or of white people. This is very interesting because we would think that slaves would be able to witness and come into contact with more white people around since they are being owned and working under them. There were also many laws and consequences that were dealt with democratically. One of the elders in this system was Equiano’s father, in which he helped decide disputes and punish crimes such as adultery. Marriage was taken very seriously and women were punished more heavily than men. One interesting fact about this system is how wars work. If another district’s chief started war to procure slaves, and won, he would be able to enslave and sell the trounced men, women, and children. However, if he loses the war, he then will be prosecuted and put to death. The kingdom was comprised of many performers such as dancers, musicians, and poets and was split up into di...

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...hroughout his narrative was seldom aggressive. Even when he was beaten to a pulp near the ending of volume one, he did not retaliate, only one long cry for mercy. He knew slavery was not his only option because he mentioned many times his thoughts for escaping and reflected upon all the opportunities he missed. He was desensitized from his power of will because of what he has been forced to witness and the condition he’s pressed to be in. With Gomez’s Reversing Sail, we come to a conclusion of learning that “from the belly of the whale, the sons and daughters of Africa were dispersed all over the New World, occupying every conceivable place, performing every imaginable task” (Gomez 79). Through this essay, readers should be able to have a better understanding of the types of systems of slavery that occurred before the trans-Atlantic slave trade and how it contrives.

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