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Historical Document
Equiano's autobiography
1789

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Click here for the text of this historical document.

Equiano seemed reluctant to tell his story. He claimed that he was a "private and obscure individual" and "neither a saint, a hero, nor a tyrant." One thing he realized, though, was that his life was far from typical. In his autobiography, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, The African, he tells the story of his youth in an African village, his kidnapping, his being made a slave in Africa, his horrendous voyage on a slave ship, his bondage in the Americas, his conversion to Christianity, the purchase of his freedom, his experiences on a British man of war, his employment on a plantation and on commercial ships, and his contribution to the abolitionist movement. He hoped his book would "promote the interests of humanity." It more than succeeded.




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Olaudah Equiano





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