DAILY DOSE OF HISTORY: Olaudah Equiano – Activist

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Olaudah Equiano, Black writer, Black Writers, Black History, Black History 365, DDH: Daily Dose of History

Essaka

In his book, Olaudah Equiano wrote that he was born among the Eboe people of Benin in a “fruitful vale” known as Essaka, in 1745, in what is modern-day Guinea. Modern scholars, however, state that he was, in fact, born in South Carolina and not on the African continent.

Childhood

According to his book, Equiano lived in Benin, the most magnificent kingdom along the coast from Senegal to Angola. He was born into the Eboe tribe with his mother, father, and siblings. His father was chief. Young Olaudah and his older brother were prepped to one day take the throne.

Bondage

Although he was soon-to-be prepped for his role as the leader, Equiano never experienced that piece of his culture. When he was 11 years old, he and his sisters were captured by African slavers who sold them to Europeans. From there, he endured pain and suffering along the Middle Passage.

Virginia

After stopping in Barbados to be broken like wild horses, Equiano was later transported to Virginia. Along the way, he was stripped of his given African name and given several other names. One of the other names bestowed upon him was Gustavus Vasa. Later, Equiano wrote about the mistreatment that he and other slaves endured.
Olaudah Equiano, Black writer, Black Writers, Black History, Black History 365, DDH: Daily Dose of History

Seamanship

Equiano was sold to Michael Pascal, a sailor in the Royal Navy. Because his master was in the navy, Equiano learned seamanship and sailed into battle with Pascal during Britain’s Seven Years War with France. He earned a basic education and converted to Christianity. He was later sold to a slave owner named Captain Doran who taught him about trading.

Freedom

While Equiano served him, Doran assisted Equiano in purchasing his own freedom. He was finally liberated. He remained in the Caribbean to work for Doran but was nearly captured and sent back into bondage several times. He was able to evade bondage by proving his education. He soon left the Caribbean and made his way back to Britain.

Abolition Movement

Once free, Equiano joined fellow Abolitionists in the fight to end the slave trade. His friends encouraged him to write a book about his life experiences. Thus, he wrote The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vasa, The African, Written by Himself, in 1789. His book enabled him to focus on fighting slavery more diligently than he could previously.

Legacy

After writing his book, Equiano married a young woman named Susan Cullen. They had two daughters together. Olaudah Equiano later died in 1797, in his early 50s. Although the location of his actual birth has been called into question, it is indisputable that Equiano contributed greatly to the Abolition of slavery.
Olaudah Equiano, Black writer, Black Writers, Black History, Black History 365, DDH: Daily Dose of History
**The views and actions of the DDH historical figures that are featured may not reflect the views and beliefs of Ramiro The Writer (Nikodemus Mwandishi) or We Buy Black. Thank you.**
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