Socialist Worker

Olaudah Equiano: fighter for freedom

Issue No. 2043

Olaudah Equiano

Olaudah Equiano

The former slave Olaudah Equiano was a key figure in the British campaign to end slavery.

He was snatched in 1756 from what is now Nigeria, aged just 11. He became a slave on a tobacco plantation, gaining his freedom in his early twenties.

Equiano joined the anti-slavery movement in Britain. In 1789 he published The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African.

This documented the horrors of slavery. It was a popular book, going through eight editions in his lifetimes and six more in the years after his death in 1797.

Equiano went on speaking tours to rally support for abolition and was connected with the radical wing of the movement.

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