Olaudah Equiano and his Role in the Abolition of Slavery in Africa Essay

Olaudah Equiano and his Role in the Abolition of Slavery in Africa Essay

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Olaudah Equiano was an eighteenth century African slave who later became an author. Born in 1745, Equiano was the son of an Eboe village leader in the present country of Nigeria (Williamson). At only eleven years old, Equiano and his sister were captured and sold into slavery (Carey). His experiences from his home in Africa, as well as those as a slave, would later influence his renowned autobiography The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African.
First published in 1789, Volume I focuses on Equiano’s short time in Africa followed by his treacherous journey as a slave. He begins the narrative with an in depth description of his homeland of Nigeria, speaking of their food, clothes, and religious views. He then recounts the events following his kidnapping, as well as the treacherous expedition from Africa to the West Indies known as the Middle Passage. Once in the West Indies, Equiano saw firsthand the selling of his countrymen. While there, he was not purchased, so Equiano was taken to Virginia, where he labored in the fields of a plantation. Not long after arriving in Virginia, Equiano was sold to Henry Pascal, a lieutenant in the British navy. After purchasing Equiano, Pascal returned to England. During their journey, Pascal renamed Equiano Gustavus Vassa. Once in England, Equiano began to go to church with his new friend Robert Baker, who began to teach him to read and write. Pascal later sent Equiano to work for his sisters, the Guerins. The Guerins promoted his education and Christianity, and eventually, the sisters convinced Pascal to permit Equiano to be baptized. Eqiano was extremely loyal to Pascal, but after a few years the slave was sold to James Doran. Equiano was astonished th...

... middle of paper ...

... readers will learn from his story.
After the publishing of his narrative, the final years of Equiano’s life were extremely successful for an African of the eighteenth century. With the popularity of his autobiography growing, Equiano led an abolition campaign throughout Great Britain. He traveled the country endorsing his book as well as advocating anti-slavery. Equiano married Susanna Cullen in 1792, and the two would eventually have two daughters (Carey). Equiano eventually benefited financially from his book and was able to provide his daughters with generous inheritances. Equiano eventually died in 1797 in London, England (Williamson). Although he would perish before anything was accomplished in the anti-slavery movement in Great Britain or the United States, Equiano and his autobiography played a pivotal role in the abolition of slavery in these two countries.

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