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Equiano - The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano

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Equiano - The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano

  1. 1. The Narrative of the Interesting Life of Olaudah Equiano
  2. 2. Olaudah Equiano
  3. 3. Olaudah Equiano •Also known by the name Gustavus Vassa •African writer, formerly a slave, who was involved in the British abolitionist movement to end the slave trade
  4. 4. Equiano’s Early Years •Equiano was born in 1745 in what is now Nigeria. •He was a member of the Igbo ethnic group, which still exists. •He was kidnapped and sold into slavery at 11 years old.
  5. 5. The Middle Passage •After being enslaved, Equiano was transported across the Atlantic, first to Barbados and then Virginia. •The “Middle Passage” refers to the voyage of slave ships across the Atlantic from Africa to the Americas
  6. 6. Renaming Equiano •On the slave ship, Equiano was renamed “Michael.” •His first owner called him “Jacob.” •A later owner named him “Gustavus Vassa.”
  7. 7. Freedom and Education •At age 20, Equiano’s owner said he could buy his freedom. •The owner also taught Equiano to read and write. •After gaining freedom, Equiano became an abolitionist, working to end slavery.
  8. 8. The Interesting Narrative •Equiano’s narrative is a firsthand account of Africa, African Slavery, and the Middle Passage. •The narrative was not ghostwritten and was not endorsed by whites at the time.
  9. 9. Genre •Equiano’s narrative crosses many genres: slave narrative, abolitionist treatise, sea adventure, and rags-to-riches tale.
  10. 10. Themes •Africans are both human and intelligent. •The Middle Passage was a brutal, savage trip. •Slavery is a moral outrage and must be ended.
  11. 11. Controversy •Some historians believe they have baptismal records that Equiano was born in South Carolina. •If this is the case, then Equiano’s description of the Middle Passage is fictional, though his life as a slave is most likely non- fiction.

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