Date of Award
Master of Arts
The contributions of Olaudah Equiano to the abolition of the Atlantic slave trade are as impressive as they are numerous. Equiano was a voice for the thousands of Africans being enslaved by Europeans, for profit, in the closing decades of the eighteenth century. Equiano's time in slavery was not as brutal as most other accounts, and he was educated both in England and at sea. He used his ability to communicate with socially and politically conscious audiences in England and the United States. His memoir, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, Written By Himself was very influential in ending the slave trade. Equiano's first-hand account of the horrors of slavery was immensely popular on both sides of the Atlantic with sales numbering in the thousands. Due to the popularity of the memoir, the book was reprinted nine times in Great Britain in Equiano's life and contemporaneously printed in America, Germany, and Russia. The list of subscribers is a Who's Who of important political, religious and social leaders. The publication of the memoir and the numerous letters written to dignitaries and newspapers by Equiano and his allies show his commitment and determination to see the ending of the slave trade. Even though Equiano died a decade before the resolution, his contributions are worthy of attention.
Elaine S Bahr
Bahr, Elaine S., "The voice of Africa: reevaluating the contributions of Olaudah Equiano, the former slave, in ending the Atlantic slave trade" (2003). Retrospective Theses and Dissertations. 19899.