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The narratives of Frederick Douglass and Thomas Equiano both offer insight into the African and African-American experiences prior to the Civil ar. hile both Douglass and Equiano can both easily be classified as abolitionists, their approach to abolitionism and political activism via literature differs significantly. One of the main reasons why Douglass and Equiano differ in their approach is that they wrote during completely different time periods: Equiano nearly a century prior to Douglass. Equiano's perspective therefore focuses more on the trans-Atlantic slave trade and even on slavery in Africa. Douglass's narrative was penned after the Fugitive Slave Act and the Compromise of 1850 had been passed. Moreover, the two men had completely different life stories: which are recounted in their respective autobiographies. These autobiographies form the basis for scholarship on African-American history, literature, and politics.
Newman puts Douglass into a historical perspective of the history of black…… [Read More]
Equiano's Travels: A Summary of the Story
Equiano begins his story in Eboe, his homeland, a province of the kingdom of Benin. His tales recount his observations in his homeland and he notes some of the cultural and social events he encounters during his travels. He tells of the justice system in his homeland, which he thought to be fair - law of retaliation. He also notes the double standards present; husbands can have as many wives as they want, but the woman is allowed only one husband, and adultery was punishable by death. He makes note of things like these and continues to note other issues surrounding marriage and kinship relations. He seems to have a great interest in human nature and how relationships are carried out with one another.
Equiano also goes into the joy people experience around him. How they celebrate even the minor events with "dancing,…… [Read More]
Olaudah Equiano / Prince Slave Stories
The story of Olaudah Equiano began in Nigeria in 1745, when he was born; by the age of 11 Equiano was a victim of kidnapping and was sold to slave traders. His fate was not to be nearly as harsh as millions of other African natives that were seized and put into bondage, as his own writing reveals. But he was a slave and suffered the indignities that accompany slavery. The remarkable part of this story is the way that he tells his own story, written descriptively and in professional narrative, and what happens to him along the way. This paper references his tale, and also the paper reviews the life of a Muslim Prince who became a slave -- Abdul Rahman Ibrahima (referred to in this paper as The Prince). In summary, the paper will conclude with the writing of Frederick Douglass, which…… [Read More]
Even with that, the fact that Equiano came across several supportive masters across his life as a slave was essential in making him better prepared to deal with conditions in a society that was generally inclined to favor white individuals in favor of black people.
Matters were critical for slaves living at the time, especially for those working on plantations set on the American continent, with their masters being willing to work them to death, certain that black people were easily replaceable and that their only value was related to their capability to generate incomes through using physical power. Equiano is responsible for showing the world that black people were not actually as inferior as most people preferred to believe. His intellect made him a respected individual, one that was better prepared to deal with issues related to discrimination. Even when he was mistaken for a slave (at the time…… [Read More]
Olaudah Equiano's Interesting Narrative and Harriet Jacob's Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
During the 18th century, laws ensured that slaves could not legally learn how to read and write, but many did so anyway and, with the help of antislavery activists, managed to publish their poignant accounts of slavery based on their first-hand experience. For modern readers, these narratives continue to provide an eloquent but disturbing description of the brutal conditions that existed for four million black people in the Land of the Free as recently as 140 years ago or so. The first such first-hand account of a slave's experiences was Olaudah Equiano's The Interesting Narrative. Equiano's vivid descriptions of his adventures are supported by documents written by those who knew him as well as the historical record. Likewise, Harriet Jacob's Incidents in The life of A Slave Girl represented the first such slave narrative written…… [Read More]
Slave narratives like those of Frederick Douglass and Oladuh Equiano are essential to understanding the institution and the effect oppression has on the human body, mind, and spirit. Each slave narrative also offers something unique, because no two stories will be the same. Different slaves have different experiences, as well as different reactions to those experiences. Slaves like Frederick Douglass and Oladuh Equiano have formative experiences developed during their childhood, initial capture, and term of enslavement: experiences that provide them with special skills. Those skills could later help them escape and articulate their experiences in writing, thereby promoting the political and social liberation of slaves. Equiano worked much of his life as an assistant to a ship's captain, exposing him to different people and offering him a worldly outlook that would help him later when he attained freedom. Douglass had a completely different background, learning how to calk. Equiano…… [Read More]
Why a]re the dearest friends and relations now... prevented from cheering the gloom of slavery with the small comfort of being together and mingling their sufferings and sorrows? Why are parents to lose their children, brothers their sisters, or husbands their wives? Surely this is a new refinement in cruelty, which, while it has no advantage to atone for it, thus aggravates distress, and adds fresh horrors even to the wretchedness of slavery... I have even known them gratify their brutal passion with females not ten years old; and these abominations some of them practised to such scandalous excess, that one of our captains discharged the mate and others on that account." (Vol. 1 p. 206)
On the other hand, there is a paradoxical problem that probably undermines that hope: awareness of how much worse slaves were treated earlier in their lives could have also allowed some of…… [Read More]
By stressing her humility, Wheatley was able to remind the reader that even if he was of a 'superior' race, class, or social status, all were ultimately small in the eyes of the Almighty. Bradstreet and Wheatley gently used their supposedly 'lower' status to remind viewers that everyone was humble in God's eyes. In her poem "To the university of Cambridge, in New England" Wheatley writes of Jesus: "When the whole human race by sin had fall'n, / He deign'd to die that they might rise again." While she begins her poem referencing her color and African origin in a "land of errors," ultimately all human beings are fallen and must be justified before God, black and white. Even more explicitly in her poem "On Being Brought from Africa to America," Wheatley writes: "Remember, Christians, Negros, black as Cain, / May be refin'd and join th'angelic train." Wheatley expresses gratitude…… [Read More]
It is evident that in his case, he tried to improve his condition by looking at his captors as providing him with guidance, and it is in this perception that Equiano's journey becomes meaningful, both literally and symbolically, as he eventually improved his status in life by educating himself after being a free man.
Bozeman (2003) considered Equiano's experience as beneficial and resulted to Equiano's changed worldview at how he looked at slavery and British society (his 'captors). Bozeman argued that Equiano's worldview became "fluid," wherein
…he is exceptional among his contemporary British brethren: not only is he able to stand both on the inside and outside of the window of British society, Equiano can move efficiently between the two…Accepting the essence of who Equiano is, in the end, is to acknowledge the reality he was a living oxymoron perpetuating a simply complex life (62).
It is this "fluid" worldview…… [Read More]
slavery in the eighteenth century as illustrated in the autobiography "The interesting narrative of the life of Olaudah Equiano or Gustavus Vassa the African."
Olaudah Equiano was an eminent writer from the colonial period. Equiano was actually born in Nigeria, who became the first black slave in America to write an autobiography. The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano or Gustavus Vassa the African was first published in 1789. The book is an autobiography where Equiano tells us about the country he was captured from and also about the horrors and cruelties he had to bear because of his enslavement in the West Indies. Equiano, had converted to Christianity, but he was treated by fellow Christians in a very cruel "un-Christian" fashion.
From his famous autobiography, written in 1789,we learn that Olaudah Equiano was born in 1745 in Nigeria. He was kidnapped and sold into slavery…… [Read More]
Reception, Perception and Deception: The Genesis of Slavery
Progress has a way of making itself known to the world, even in a situation where there exists resistance. Considering Olaudah Equiano's "The Interesting Narrative, the issue of slavery throughout the colonial world was as much about assimilation as it was oppression. The conflict between cultures is shown in the nature of the cultural assumptions each makes concerning the other. The British are caught in a tunnel vision that doesn't allow for any considerations outside the belief that their way of life is superior and assume that the tribal culture will logically want to adapt to fit into the more modern way of life. They cannot accept the natives as equals, even as they verbalize their intention as one of attempting to create a hybrid culture. The Ibo, for their part, assume that the British will recognize and honor the way of…… [Read More]
constructing responses titles I listing. In response make show reference entry. (01) Discuss
One of the most powerful movements that transformed European society during the early modern era was the dissemination of information and the propagation of reading material due to Johannes Gutenberg's invention of the printing press around 1450 A.D. The movement that would prove to have the most impact upon society as a whole, however, was the imperialist movement that many credit to have originated with Columbus' journeys to the Americas, the first of which was in 1492. The imperialist movement would allow the appetite for power and conquering to expand beyond Europe and eventually encapsulate the entire globe. This movement is directly responsible for today's globalization, and the previous (and perhaps current) colonization and tyranny of many non-European nations. Another major movement during this time period was the beginning of the Protestant eformation, which began around 1517…… [Read More]
This can be traced to the conservative view that lacks have in fact no real history in comparison to the richness and significance of European history. "As astonishing as it seems most of the prestigious academics and universities in Europe and America have ridiculed the idea that blacks have any substantive history."
This derogatory view has its roots as well in the colonial attitude that tended to see all lack people as inferior in status and 'ignorant' in order to justify the intrusion and invasion of their lands and territories.
In other words, the justification for conquest and what was in reality the theft of African land and wealth was provided to a great extent by the ' rewriting' of iblical texts. lacks were cast as 'heathen' people who had not achieved the enlightenment that the white group had attained through the ible and Christianity and therefore lacks were seen…… [Read More]
learn about historical atrocities that were committed in the name of progress, moral righteousness, or simple commerce, but it is quite another to be confronted with a personal account of the horrors as they were committed and the people that committed them. Although the slavers that caused so much suffering for the slaves during the "middle passage" -- the journey across the Atlantic from Africa to the New World -- are not really prominently featured in this portion of the text, I found myself thinking more about these people than the slaves they practiced their atrocities and cruelties upon. It is not that the description of the slaves' conditions and level of despair was not gripping and emotionally powerful, and in fact quite the opposite is true, but I found that my emotional reaction to the filth, depravity, and deaths of the enslaved occupants of the lower portion of the…… [Read More]
Finally, in that regard, it seems that the author's choice of Christopher as Tituba's betrayer may suggest that while racial, religious, and ethnic prejudices may have subsided substantially in modern Western society, a fundamental conflict still exists in which men cannot be trusted by women.
The Significance of the Book
The significance of the book is that it provides a personal account, albeit fictionalized, of the horrors of slavery, violent oppression, gender inequality that characterized Western civilization in the 17th century. The narrative illustrates the humanity and the personal experiences of slavery from the perspective of the slave instead of the usual historical perspective. It effectively highlights the state of injustice and fear that were the everyday reality of countless individuals who were ripped fro their families and societies, sold into slavery, and usually brutalized for the rest of their lives in servitude of those regarded as the founders…… [Read More]
The ideology of race only came to justify the existence of slavery after all 'equal' men were said to have inherent rights. Until then, virtually all peoples of the world had been enslaved at one point or another, even before the existence of 'races,' and inferiority as a category could be applied to the poor, to despised ethnicities like the Irish, or even to despised members of other tribes in Africa.
Fields, Barbara. "Presentation." Race: The Power of an Illusion. PBS ebsite. 2001. February 9, 2009. http://www.pbs.org/race/000_About/002_04-background-02-02.htm
Africa: A Voyage of Discovery with Basil Davidson. RM Arts, 1984.
Horton, James O. "Origin of race, slavery." Race: The Power of an Illusion. PBS ebsite. 2003.
February 9, 2009. http://www.pbs.org/race/000_About/002_04-background-02-04.htm
Obadina, Tunde. "Role of African Slave Traders." Edofolks. February 9, 2009. http://www.edofolks.com/html/pub157.htm
Smedley, Audrey. "Origin of the idea of race." Anthropology Newsletter. November 1997.
Reprinted 2003 on Race:…… [Read More]
Equiano demonstrated that the use of the human narrative can awaken the sympathy of others, and he used his personal narrative to impress his views of abolition upon the British. Similarly, Prince Hall within Chapter two also carried the cause of abolition. Hall also advocated the continuing fight for abolition by providing hope to the African-Americans and slaves alike. Although he could only use words to motivate those in peril, the strength of his statements rests primarily in his ability to teach foundational skills to his brethren that could help them become skilled workers rather than limited by their education. Maria Stewart was another advocate of abolition; she not only fought for the doctrine of freedom for slaves, but also for the women's rights movement. All of these advocates used nonviolent means to attempt to sway the general public to turn against slavery as well as provide hope for slaves…… [Read More]
Magic as a Central Theme in "Moses, Man of the Mountain"
There has been magic in the world since time began. Even in the scientific world that has little to do with metaphysics, magic has a significant place because how can a scientist explain the tiny bit of matter that became the universe unless they do so with magic. Throughout history it has had a significant place because there are many things about this world that people still cannot explain, so they reason that there must be some unseen force behind it. Zora Neale Hurston saw this in the Biblical story of Moses, as have many others. He was able to do wondrous things with the staff he carried, the rod of power (Hurston), because of its magic. This paper discusses a central theme, magic, as it is developed in Hurston's book "Moses: Man of the Mountain" from the perspective…… [Read More]
Harmony to Holocaust
The Portuguese reached the Gold Coast of Africa in 1439. At first, they were impressed with the culture they found. As they worked their way down the coast "[t]hey found people of varying cultures. Some lived in towns ruled by kings with nobility and courtiers very much like the medieval societies they left behind them." (Obadina). Many years later, a visitor from Holland was equally impressed and records his impressions of Benin City in 1600: "As you enter it, the town appears very great. You go into a great broad street, not paved, which seems to be seven or eight times broader than the Warmoes Street in Amsterdam... The houses in this town stand in good order, one close and even with the other, as the houses in Holland stand..." (qtd. In Obadina). Clearly, at this early stage, the Europeans had a fairly positive view of the…… [Read More]
Atlantic Revolutions and How the Structure of the Atlantic World Created the Environment for These Revolutionary Movements to Form
The objective of this study is to examine the American, French, and Haitian Revolutions, known as the Atlantic Revolutions and to answer as to how the structure of the Atlantic World created the environment for these revolutionary movements to form. The North American Revolution took place between 1775 and 1878. The French Revolution took place between 1789 and 1815, and the Haitian Revolution between 1971 and 1804 and finally the Spanish American Revolutions between 1810 and 1825. These revolutions were found because of the issues of slavery, nations and nationalism, and the beginnings of feminism. In fact, the entire century from 1750 to 1850 was a century of revolutions. Political revolutions occurred in North America, France, Haiti, and Spanish South America. All of the revolutions were derived from ideas concerning Enlightenment.…… [Read More]
Beirne, Logan. Blood of Tyrants: George Washington & the Forging of the Presidency. New York: Encounter Books, 2014.
The book explores the beliefs and specific actions undertaken by George Washington as he spearheaded the distinct meaning of the United States Constitution in the midst of the battle for independence. Blood of Tyrants delineates the manner in which the role of being President of the United States was fused and amalgamated with that of Commander in Chief, owing to the course of the American Revolution. In particular, subsequent to independence, when determining the role of America's first ever President, the public revered and had a high regard for the excellent leadership demonstrated by George Washington, who was a recognized and sure success. Washington was deemed to be a lively motivating commander, valiant and courageous; he endeavored to ensure the protection of all Americans for the benefit of the new…… [Read More]