Olaudah Equiano, born in Nigeria around 1745. He was taken from his home when he was eleven and was sold into the Atlantic slave trade. Although he was a slave, he learned many valuable life skills. Life skills that you would be considered lucky to have known, like reading and writing. He bought his freedom in 1766, after traveling as a seaman on one of his masters’ ship. He settled in England and shortly after, became a very famous voice in the abolitionist movement.
He published a book about his life in 1789. As he was publishing this book, abolitionism was getting more known and more people were accepting it.
The book mentions how although when he was born, as well as where he was born, was rather controversial, historians still looked at his autobiography as very accurate. “The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Empire” captures his journey and his experiences living on a slave ship. It talks about his arrival to the America’s, as well as many of others.
Equiano describes the slavery that he knew in Africa as something that he could overtake, which he did, but also something that will never be forgotten and will live on. It changed history and also changed many slaves lives. It compares with the plantation slavery of the America’s because a slave is a slave. All slaves went through something so traumatic and were treated very unpleasant. They were all sold, taken from their families, and not knowing what was going to happen next.
In “The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano”, he mentions how we live in a country where our wants are easily supplied. They get supplied firearms, gunpowder, hats, beads, and dried fish. Slaves were always carried through his land and they sometimes sold slaves to them. He says, “but they were only prisoners of war, or such among us as had been convicted of kidnapping or adultery, and some other crimes, which we esteemed heinous…”. He looked at himself and his piers as prisoners of war. He talks about his father, who also had been a slave, had a big family. Seven of them lived to grow up, including Equiano and a sister. He was born to learn how to shoot and throw javelins. It says, “The next day proved a day of greater sorrow than I had yet experienced; for my sister and I were then separated, while we lay clasped in each other’s arms. It was in vain that we besought them not to part us; she was torn from me, and immediately carried away…”. He experienced one of the most heartbreaking things, him and his sister got separated. He was sold repeatedly and he traveled a lot. “I was again sold, and carried through a number of places.” He was bathed one day, perfumed, and taken to a nice dinner with a woman and her son. He was very confused and astonished by this.
All of this good treatment made him forget that he was a slave at one point. This didn’t last long, he was soon taken back and placed below deck. He got very sick and was unable to eat. All he wanted to do at this point, was die. The heat and the smell was unbearable. He watched many die right before him, listening to the shrieks of the women and the groans of dying. He finally made it to an Island, and he felt so much joy and so much hope. “We were conducted immediately to the merchant’s yard, where we were all pent up together like so many sheep in a fold, without regard to sex or age.”
The author of this document is Olaudah Equiano, a slave, abolitionist, and writer. This was written in 1789, signifying the importance of his slave years. This was a very informative piece of literature, full of hardships, real emotions, and real people. This document was written to give an insight on the life of Equiano, writing to all sorts of people.