Slavery through the eyes of Olaudah Equiano

In 1789, Olaudah Equiano published The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African. Younge House is currently reading an adaptation of this book (written by Ann Cameron) as we begin our study of Forced Immigration and Slavery in America. His story is at once both tragic and amazing. Born a prince in the Kingdom of Benin, Olaudah was kidnapped and taken the Americas where he was eventually bought by a sea captain, with whom he traveled extensively. Olaudah had many adventures: he learned to read, fought for the Navy, became a hairdresser and struggled to buy his freedom. Upon gaining it, he became part of the English movement to abolish the slave trade.

From the text, we will be creating found poetry that uses Olaudah’s words in new ways to reflect his old country, journey, arrival, and new country.

So that you at home can follow along with what we are learning, check out this website that gives among other things a biography of Mr. Equiano as well as details on a debate over whether Olaudah was actually born in Africa.

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