Olaudah (usually pronounced o-LAH-do) Equiano was a West African child kidnapped at the age of 11 and eventually transported to the Americas. His story is one of the rare 1st-hand accounts that we have of an enslaved African. We have lots of African-American* slave narratives [stories], but African-slave narratives are really rare. That fact that Equiano not only survived the Middle Passage and thrived as an adult in the Americas, but also learned how to read and write, is quite extraordinary.
This is not a long reading, only 9 pages, but there is so much to think about in this chapter. First off, notice that during his journey he is enslaved by Africans as well as by whites. How does that slavery compare? Is his treatment at the hands of Africans and whites similar or different? What does the African landscape look like as he passes through? What are his emotions as he reaches the coast and sees the ocean? What is the Middle Passage journey like for him? Do you see the three legs of a slave’s journey that are mentioned in this week’s lecture?