Olaudah Equiano Research Paper

714 Words3 Pages
During a very dishonorable time in the world’s history, a very cruel event involving the forced shipping of live human beings began to take place. Many of these people, known as slaves, were kidnapped from their homes in West Africa and then shipped with other slaves to Europe or the Americas to be used for labor. Africans were shipped on a long, horrendous journey which became known as the "Middle Passage". One such African that traveled along the middle passage was Olaudah Equiano. Olaudah tells of his hardships and the countless others abroad the journey to the Americas in his autobiography, The Interesting Narrative of The Life of Olaudah Equiano. Equiano recounts the stench and crowdedness of the ship, the sickness, and the many of the suicide attempts from his…show more content…
Equiano recalls three Africans who tried just this. “Two of my wearied countrymen who were chained together (I was near them at the time), preferring death to such a life of misery, somehow made through the nettings and jumped into the sea; immediately, another quite dejected fellow, who, on account of his illness, was suffered to be out of irons, also followed their example.” According to Benson and his colleagues, authors of Slave Ships and The Middle Passage, these nets had to be rigged along the ship's sides to prevent the slaves from leaping overboard and drowning themselves. But, as you can see in Equiano’s case, some slaves still managed to get through the nets. “Taking one's life as a response to their enslaved condition was not viewed as morally abhorrent in African cultures as it was in many Western cultures. This was because in most African religious orders, deceased ancestors were prayed to, worshiped, or called upon for guidance in many areas of everyday life in Africa. As such, death, even by suicide, was in many ways seen as an inevitable reunion with one's ancestors”

More about Olaudah Equiano Research Paper

Open Document