The Life of Olaudah Equiano

ISBN13: 9781684221738
Release Date: November 22nd 2017
Published by: Martino Fine Books

2017 Reprint of 1814 Edition. Olaudah Equiano was a British citizen and former slave who, in the 1780s, became a leader of the movement to abolish the slave trade. His autobiography, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African, was first published in London in 1789 and went through nine editions in the next five years. It contributed significantly to turning British public opinion against the slave trade. As the title suggests, Equiano was regarded as an authority on the slave trade, in large part, because he wrote that he had been born in Eboe, a province of the kingdom of Benin, in what is now southern Nigeria. He could recall his African childhood and describe the experience of being captured and sold into slavery. It is one of the earliest-known examples of published writing by an African writer to be widely read in England. By 1792, it was a best seller: it has been published in Russia, Germany, Holland, and the United States. It was the first influential slave narrative of what became a large literary genre. But Equiano's experience in slavery was quite different from that of most slaves; he did not participate in field work, he served his owners personally and went to sea, was taught to read and write, and worked in trading. His account surprised many with the quality of its imagery, description, and literary style. In his account, Equiano gives details about his hometown Essaka and the laws and customs of the Eboe people. After being captured as a boy, he described communities he passed through as a captive on his way to the coast. His biography details his voyage on a slave ship, and the brutality of slavery in the colonies of West Indies, Virginia, and Georgia.

More work like this

The Pulse of Black Life in the Long 19th Century
Autumn Womack, Eddie S. Glaude, Jr.
Rethinking Empire and Democracy
Eddie S. Glaude, Jr., Reena N. Goldthree
The Formation of ‘Religio-Racial’ Identity
Judith Weisenfeld, Eddie S. Glaude, Jr.
How Black Americans See Discrimination
National Public Radio

Upcoming Events

Still We Rise: Black History Month at Princeton
Feb 9, 2018 - Mar 2, 2018
Mass Incarceration, Criminal Justice and Civil Rights: Michelle Alexander in Conversation with Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor
Feb 26, 2018 @ 6:00 pm
Book Discussion on 'May We Forever Stand: A History of the Black National Anthem'
Apr 5, 2018 @ 6:00 pm
Princeton Research Day
May 10, 2018
p: (609) 258-4270 | f: (609) 258-3484

African American Studies for the 21st Century

© 2017 The Trustees of Princeton University
  1. 'The Making of the Modern Black Diaspora' Eddie S. Glaude Jr., Joshua Guild 35:17
  2. 'The Pulse of Black Life in the Long 19th Century' Eddie S. Glaude Jr., Autumn Womack 30:42
  3. 'Rethinking Empire and Democracy' Reena N. Goldthree, Eddie S. Glaude Jr. 44:49
  4. 'The Formation of Religio-Racial Identity' Eddie S. Glaude Jr., Judith Weisenfeld 47:32
  5. 'What Was African American Marriage?' Eddie S. Glaude Jr., Tera Hunter 44:59
  6. 'Before Cornel West, After Cornel West' Eddie S. Glaude Jr., Cornel West 52:46
  7. 'An Insistence on Not Being Discouraged' Eddie S. Glaude Jr., Chika Okeke-Agulu 55:19
  8. 'A Through Line for African American Studies' Eddie S. Glaude Jr., Imani Perry 44:07
  9. 'Activism and Risk in the Face of Trump' Eddie S. Glaude Jr., Asanni York, Destiny Crockett 43:02
  10. 'Langston Hughes, Religious Thinker' Eddie S. Glaude Jr., Wallace Best 45:50
  11. 'Convergences and Dissonance' Eddie S. Glaude Jr., Keeanga-Yamahatta Taylor, Naomi Murakawa, & Imani Perry 60:08