Traditional Slavery, And Frederick Douglass And Olaudah Equiano

Great Essays
Nischal Khatri
Honors 101-01: Literature of the Atlantic
Dr. Shannon
Dec. 2, 2014
Modern Slavery vs. Traditional Slavery
What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about slavery? Isn’t it plantations in the American South and the slave ships? Do not people like Frederick Douglass and Olaudah Equiano come to your mind instantly? American South Plantations are such a vital part in the country’s history that it is very obvious that these things form a primary image in our brain. The extremely dehumanizing and brutal activities faced by slaves during the 18th and 19th century are hard to forget. However, traditional slavery is so fixed in our imagination that sometimes it makes other issues obscure. If you type “Slavery” into
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Today, we know a lot about slavery in the past because of the narratives of the enslaved people like Douglass and Equiano, who later learned to read and write and gained their freedom. These narratives are important because they help us know the past which eventually leads to a better life today. They depict the callous nature of slavery during their time. In fact, people like Douglass and Equiano have tried to help us by raising their voice against slavery. In his book A World of Ideas while talking about Frederick Douglass, Lee A. Jacobus writes that Frederick Douglass did not only want to free himself, but also wanted to obtain freedom for all his fellow men (Jacobus 158). After gaining freedom for himself, Douglass still continued on working for the freedom of other slaves. Similarly, another famous narrative is of Oluadah Equiano which Nina Baym considers to be the second most important narrative after Douglass’s narrative (Baym 687). Equiano’s narrative also describes the extreme brutality faced by slaves during his lifetime. While talking about his sister, Equiano once states, “I commit the care of your innocence and virtues, if they have not . . . fallen victims to the violence of the African trader, the pestilential stench of a Guinea ship, the seasoning in the European colonies, or the lash and lust of a brutal and unrelenting overseer” (Equiano 693). This statement gives us ideas about the issue of sex trafficking during Equiano’s period. Equiano mentions this in his narrative in order to make us aware of the possible threat of it in the

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