Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Olaudah Equiano Account

Captured at a young age and sold into slavery, Equiano’s account of the wretched voyage to Virginia demonstrated the unimaginable brutality and unbearable conditions of the eighteenth century slave-trade. During his miserable voyage to the New World, Equiano recalls his astonishment as he witnessed the coast, open water, and the English slave-ships for the very first time. On the contrary Equiano writes about his sickening resentment of the white man for their savageness and cruelty regarding the slaves. Lucky enough to avoid the fifteen percent of slaves who died during the voyage, Equiano survived to tell his courageous story.
Once in Virginia, Equiano was purchased by the Capitan of a tobacco trade ship, and traveled as a slave between North America, England, & the West Indies for approximately ten years. Learning the English language while still a slave, Equiano managed to buy his freedom in the year of 1766. Before long, as a free man, Equiano successfully accumulated English culture, characteristics and even fashions. Contrary to his impression of white men aboard the slave ship, in his narrative, Equiano ironically wrote, “I looked upon the English as men superior to us (Africans), and therefore I had a strong desire to resemble them, to imbibe their spirit and imitate their manors.” Although became accustomed to the English way of life, he still encompassed his African roots by campaigning against slavery and writing his grandly influential narratives, which effectively served to demote slavery in his time.

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