Olaudah EquianoAbolitionist LeaderAdapted By: Ms. Jones-Martin American Literature Spring 2012
Olaudah Equianoteacher notes This presentation invites low English Proficiency (LEP) adolescent newcomers (newly arrived immigrants) to consider what the qualities of a leader are through reading excerpts about and by Olaudah Equiano and answering questions about the dilemmas and opportunities he encountered Students are enrolled in “sheltered” U.S. History I classes which deliver foundation content following the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks while developing English language skills in order to eventually enroll in mainstream history content classes with some basic knowledge of content Students have a 0-2 level of English; thus, they have a limited vocabulary and limited reading comprehension in English and all Tier 2 – 3 vocabulary must be explicitly taught In addition to limited English skills, students generally have minimal knowledge of U.S. History and limited awareness (if any) of a U.S. historical perspective on world events and history; therefore, students will need prior instruction to build background knowledge on the Slave Trade and the Abolitionist movements in the United States and in Great Britain All quotes should be reduced to plain English as full class activities The presentation is interactive in that students take notes and respond to questions in a notebook which will be collected as part of their assessment; developing note-taking skills is an integral component to their sheltered history class The presentation can be used full class or students may work through it individually or combinations of both
What are the qualities of a leader?“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” These are three famous leaders in U.S. -John Quincy Adams history that you probably know: “True leadership must be for the benefit of the followers, not the enrichment of the leaders.” -Robert Townsend George Washington“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test Abraham Lincoln a mans character, give him power.” - Abraham Lincoln Martin Luther King, Jr.“The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men the conviction and will to carry on.” - Walter J. Lippmann“In matters of style, swim with the current; In matters of principle, stand like a rock.” - Thomas Jefferson“Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.” - James Baldwin Why were they “leaders”?What do these quotations tell What do you know about us about leaders? them?
A young child in Africa… Olaudah Equiano was born in West Africa in 1745. He was kidnapped by another tribe in 1755. He was 11 years old. Olaudah was next sold to white slave traders who put him on a ship for the Americas. This was the first time he saw the ocean. The slave ship crossed the Atlantic Ocean and arrived in Barbados in the West Indies in 1756. Equiano did not speak English. He did not know how to read or write. He did not know where he was going or what was happening to him.Imagine you are Olaudah. Write down what you see and talk about your fears…
The Middle Passage“The first object [I saw] when I arrived on the coast [of West Africa], was the sea, and a slave ship…waiting for its cargo. These filled me with astonishment, … soon… terror… I wished for the last friend, death, to relieve me…I would have jumped over the side, but I could not…the shrieks of the women, and the groans of the dying, [made] the whole a scene of horror almost inconceivable.” (chapter 2)Dilemma: Olaudah saw other slaves throw themselves overboard to escape the horrors aboard the slave ship. The Middle Passage was so horrible, Olaudah wanted to kill himself sometimes. Olaudah decided not to try to throw himself overboard.Why do you think he made the choice to survive slavery at this point? What were his options?
Travels as a slave The slave ship arrived in Barbados. Olaudah had survived the Middle Passage. No one bought Olaudah in Barbados. He went on another ship to an English Colony in Virginia. A British Navy officer, Michael Henry Pascal, bought Olaudah and was his master for 7 years. He brought him to England. When in England, Olaudah learned to read and write. Olaudah also learned to speak English. Later, Olaudah traveled all around the world with Lt. Pascal. Lt. Pascal promised to give Olaudah his freedom, but he never did. In 1763, Lt. Pascal sold Olaudah to a new master, Mr. King. Olaudah made himself very useful to Mr. King and learned more about commerce and trade.
Dilemmas and opportunities… By chance, Olaudah was bought by a man who allowed him to learn to read and write. What kind of opportunity was this for Olaudah? If he could learn to read and write in English, what other opportunities might he find? By chance, Olaudah’s owner traveled the world. This was an opportunity for Olaudah to learn about what? Lt. Pascal had promised to give Olaudah his freedom but didn’t. Olaudah wanted to be free. What are some possible things he could do in this dilemma? Mr. King was a businessman. This was an opportunity for Olaudah to do what? Olaudah had many opportunities to try to escape. One of his dilemmas was to escape or not. Why do you think he chose not to escape from either Lt. Pascal or Mr. King?
How did events from 1756-1763 influence Olaudah?Did these events help to form him as a leader? Explainyour answers. Important Events He learned to read and write and speak in English He traveled the world and saw many different people and places He was promised freedom, but was not given it He learned about trade and commerceWhat did Olaudah gain from his situation as a slave with Lt. Pascal?How might this have helped him eventually to become an abolitionist leader?What did he gain from his situation as a slave with Mr. King?How might this have helped him eventually to become an abolitionist leader?How do you think the unfulfilled promise of freedom motivated Olaudah?
Freedom In 1766, Olaudah bought his freedom and worked in the trade business He lived in England and became an abolitionist He lectured against the cruelty of British slave owners He spoke out against the English slave trade He worked to resettle freed slaves in Sierre Leone Olaudah published a narrative about his life in 1789 His narrative was a great influence on the abolition of slavery in England and in the United States Olaudah Equiano died in 1797 In 1807, Great Britain abolished slavery
Dilemmas and opportunities… When Olaudah bought his freedom from Mr. King, he faced the dilemma of where to go so that he could live his life as a freed man. Why do you think he went to England instead of staying in the West Indies or the United States? Olaudah had many abolitionist friends who supported his abolitionist work in England. Why do you think he took the opportunity to write a narrative about his life? Olaudah worked to help freed slaves move back to Sierra Leone in Africa. He faced the dilemma of not moving back himself. Why do you think he chose not to return to Africa?
The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, The African (1789) by Olaudah Equiano Olaudah’s principal reason for writing his narrative was to evoke compassion for the miseries suffered by Africans in the slave trade An English abolitionist said that Olaudah’s book was “more use to the Cause [Abolition] than half the people of the country”. Olaudah said he hoped his book would “promote the interests of humanity”
Olaudah tried to convince others that the slave trade was wrong.Do his words persuade you? How? “[It] violates that first natural right of mankind, equality and freedom, and gives one man a dominion over his fellows which God could never intend! For it raises the owner to a state as far above man as it depresses the slave below it; and, with all the presumption of human pride, sets a distinction between them, immeasurable in extend, and endless in duration!” “When you make men slaves, you deprive them of half their virtue, you set them, in your own conduct, an example of fraud, rapine, and cruelty, and compel them to live with you in a state of war, and yet you complain that they are not honest or faithful!” “As the inhuman traffic of slavery is to be taken into the consideration of the British legislature, I doubt not, if a system of commerce was established in Africa, the demand for manufactures would most rapidly augment…a commercial intercourse with Africa opens an inexhaustible source of wealth to the manufacturing interests of Great Britain, and to all which the slave trade is an objection…The abolition of slavery would be in reality a universal good.”
Olaudah Equiano Olaudah was intelligent, quickly learned English, studied to read and write and learn about the laws and business of his enslavers Olaudah converted to Christianity which may have influenced how he told his story and who became his friends and supporters Olaudah’s autobiography was the first slave narrative and the first book published in English by an African His narrative was very effective in behalf of abolitionism Olaudah knew how to convince his readers that slavery was inhuman Olaudah survived horrible situations and overcame them Olaudah was willing to work hard for what he wanted
Dilemmas, Luck, or Opportunities? Use your notes and onlineresources to answer these questions. When you look for the answers,can you find more dilemmas and opportunities that Olaudah faced?1. Who was Olaudah Equiano?2. When did he live?3. Where was he born and where did he die?4. What were some things happening during this time in the United States?5. What were some things happening in Great Britain at this time?6. Why didn’t Olaudah try to escape from his African kidnappers or the whites who enslaved him?7. If Olaudah Equiano did not become the slave to Lt. Pascal, would he have become an abolitionist?8. When Mr. King bought Olaudah, in what ways might Olaudah’s life have been different from his life with Lt. Pascal?9. When Olaudah bought his freedom and moved to England, he converted to Christianity. How might this have influenced his perspective?10. Olaudah had several opportunities of good luck. What were they? How did he use them to his advantage?11. In your opinion, which event or period of time most influenced Olaudah to become a leader? Why?
Cause and Effect OrganizerCopy in your notebook and write 10 causes and 10 matching effectsImportant event or How the event orexperience in Olaudah’s experience formed hislife… leadership qualities…1. he was kidnapped when he was 11 1. he was too young to figure out how to escape and go back to Africa so he had to learn how to make the best of his situation
Olaudah Equiano –Does he qualify as a leader?Now that you have learned a little about Equiano, do you think he had leadership qualities?In your notebook, EXPLAIN your opinion and answer in 1-3 paragraphs.Use evidence from the presentation, your notes, and any information from other sources in your answer.
Summary Olaudah Equiano had no choice in his life as a slave. However, he took advantage of every opportunity to enhance his life and make himself useful. In fact, he learned a new language, reading and writing, English law, and trade and commerce. He became a self-educated man. With his education and his desire for freedom, Olaudah overcame his enslavement by buying his freedom. He gained power over his own life and destiny. Now he was able to live the life he chose. His choice was to work hard to abolish the practiced that allowed for humans to enslave each other. In doing so, he wrote his narrative and convinced many that slavery was inhuman. His abolition work influenced not just Great Britain which abolished slavery in 1807, but also influenced the growing abolitionist movement in the United States. Because Olaudah was intelligent, educated, hardworking and diligent, he was well-respected and people listened to him. If you return to Slide 3 and the 6 quotes about leaders, can you agree that Olaudah Equiano certainly meets the criteria to be a leader?
Sources and further readingDuring your free lab time, search for more facts and information on Olaudah Equiano,The Slave Trade, The Middle Passage, and The Abolitionist Movements PBS resource guide, Africans in America http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part1/1p276.html University of Michigan http://wmich.edu/dialogues/texts/lifeofolaudahequiano.htm Brycchan Carey’s website for Olaudah Equiano http://www.brycchancarey.com/equiano/index.htm Equiano Foundation Online http://www.atomicage.com/equiano/index.html University of North Carolina “Documenting the American South” http://docsouth.unc.edu/neh/neh.html Library of Congress “The African American Odyssey, Slaves and the Courts” http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/sthtml Selections of Olaudah Equiano’s narrative: http://wsu.edu/~dee/Equiano.html The Mariner’s Museum, Captive Passage http://wsu.edu/~dee/Equiano.html Understanding Slavery http://www.understandingslavery.com/citizen/explore/activism/gallery/?id=1376 African American Odyssey, Anti-Slavery Movements and the Rise of the Sectional Controversy http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/aaohtml/exhibit/aopart3.html The African American Mosaic http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/african/afam007.html The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American Slavery http://www.gilderlehrman.org/collection/online/wilberforce/index.html History Matters http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/6372/
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