By James Walvin
The autobiography of Olaudah Equiano, a well known African in overdue 18th-century Britain, is quoted, anthologized and interpreted in dozens of books and articles. greater than any unmarried modern, Equiano speaks for the destiny of thousands of Africans within the period of the transatlantic slave exchange. This research makes an attempt to create a rounded portrait of the guy in the back of the literary photograph, and to review Equiano within the context of Atlantic slavery.
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Additional resources for African's Life, 1745-1797 (The Black Atlantic Series)
The History of a Continent (Cambridge, 1995), Ch. 7. , p. 127. 4 For some recent findings see David Eltis and David Richardson (eds), Routes to Slavery (London, 1997)5 See Introduction by Paul Edwards, in facsimile edition of The Interesting Narrative (London, 1969), pp. xlvii-xlix. 6 Definitions of the Igbo people remain more uncertain than we might imagine. The regions, cultures and history of the Igbo people in all their shifting nature can best be approached through the work of Elizabeth Isichei: The Ibo People and the Europeans (London, 1976); A History of the Igbo People (London, 1976).
There were bound to be some flaws in his memory: incidents, places, events, people inaccurately recalled, wrongly attributed and mislocated. '24 Yet there is no reason to doubt the clarity of his main memories; the terror of enslavement, the wrenching from his family and sister, and the physical and mental miseries of being driven for months on end towards the Atlantic. Equiano laid before his English readership an account of African life which was rational and sophisticated. Though it was utterly different from anything Europeans might be accustomed to, it was also quite unlike the images of irrational savagery so commonly portrayed by proponents of the slave system.
Equiano enjoyed his new post. He was well treated and had enough time on his hands 'to improve myself in reading and writing. '22 This is hardly surprising since boys serving as servants to the officers, might make up 6 to 10 per cent of the ship's complement. 23 Sometimes Equiano met other Africans. Back in England in 1760-61, for example, Equiano found himself based on the Isle of Wight, 'this delightful island' where he found 'the inhabitants very civil'. There he made friends with another black slave 'a black boy about my own size', who dashed over to greet Equiano when he had caught sight 'of one of his own countrymen'.
African's Life, 1745-1797 (The Black Atlantic Series) by James Walvin