Olaudah Equiano reading -...

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Olaudah Equiano, The Middle Passage (1788) This account of the "middle passage" comes from one of the first writings by an ex-slave and the originator of the slave narrative. Equiano was born in Nigeria and was kidnapped into slavery at the age of eleven. After a time in the West Indies, he was sold to a Virginia planter before becoming the slave of a merchant. Years later he was able to buy his freedom and at the age of 44, he wrote "The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, The African. Written by Himself." Equiano became an abolitionist and made the expedition to settle the colony of ex-slaves at Sierra Leone. . . . The first object which saluted my eyes when I arrived on the coast was the sea, and a slave ship, which was then riding at anchor, and waiting for its cargo. These filled me with astonishment, which was soon converted into terror when I was carried on board. I was immediately handled and tossed up to see if I were sound by some of the crew; and I was now persuaded that I had gotten into a world of bad spirits, and that they were going to kill me. Their complexions too differing so much from ours, their long hair, and the language they spoke, (which was very different from any I had ever heard) united to confirm me in this belief. Indeed such were the horrors of my views and fears at the moment, that, if ten thousand worlds had been my own, I would have freely parted with them all to have exchanged my condition with that of the meanest slave in my own country. When I looked round the ship too and saw a large furnace of copper boiling, and a multitude of black people of every description chained together, every one of their countenances expressing dejection and sorrow, I no longer doubted of my fate; and, quite overpowered with horror and anguish, I fell motionless on the deck and fainted. When I recovered a little I found some black people about me, who I believe were some of those who brought me on board, and had been receiving their pay; they talked to me in order to cheer me, but all in vain. I asked them if we were not to be eaten by those white men with horrible looks, red faces, and loose hair. They told me I was not; and one of the crew brought me a small portion
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This note was uploaded on 11/27/2011 for the course HIS 315K taught by Professor Matttribbe during the Spring '11 term at University of Texas at Austin.

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Olaudah Equiano reading -...

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