Olaudah Equiano Abolitionist Leader

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					 Olaudah Equiano
Abolitionist Leader
      Laurie Hartwick
 Teaching American History
         July 2009
Olaudah Equiano
teacher notes
   This presentation invites low English Proficiency (LEP) adolescent newcomers (newly arrived
    immigrants) to consider what the qualities of a leader are through reading excerpts about and by
    Olaudah Equiano and answering questions about the dilemmas and opportunities he encountered
    Students are enrolled in “sheltered” U.S. History I classes which deliver foundation content
    following the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks while developing English language skills in
    order to eventually enroll in mainstream history content classes with some basic knowledge of
   Students have a 0-2 level of English; thus, they have a limited vocabulary and limited reading
    comprehension in English and all Tier 2 – 3 vocabulary must be explicitly taught
   In addition to limited English skills, students generally have minimal knowledge of U.S. History and
    limited awareness (if any) of a U.S. historical perspective on world events and history; therefore,
    students will need prior instruction to build background knowledge on the Slave Trade and the
    Abolitionist movements in the United States and in Great Britain
   All quotes should be reduced to plain English as full class activities
   The presentation is interactive in that students take notes and respond to questions in a notebook
    which will be collected as part of their assessment; developing note-taking skills is an integral
    component to their sheltered history class
   The presentation can be used full class or students may work through it individually or
    combinations of both
       What are the qualities of a leader?
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more,
     do more and become more, you are a leader.”                 These are three famous leaders in U.S.
                                -John Quincy Adams                 history that you probably know:
 “True leadership must be for the benefit of the followers,
     not the enrichment of the leaders.”
                                -Robert Townsend                    George Washington
“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a      Abraham Lincoln
     man's character, give him power.”
                                - Abraham Lincoln                   Martin Luther King, Jr.
“The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in
     other men the conviction and will to carry on.”
                                -Walter J. Lippmann
“In matters of style, swim with the current; In matters of
     principle, stand like a rock.”
                                -Thomas Jefferson
“Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing
     can be changed until it is faced.”
                                - James Baldwin
                                                                 Why were they “leaders”?
What do these quotations tell                                     What do you know about
 us about leaders?                                                them?
      A young child in Africa…
   Olaudah Equiano was born in West Africa in 1745.
   He was kidnapped by another tribe in 1755. He was
    11 years old.
   Olaudah was next sold to white slave traders who
    put him on a ship for the Americas. This was the
    first time he saw the ocean.
   The slave ship crossed the Atlantic Ocean and
    arrived in Barbados in the West Indies in 1756.
   Equiano did not speak English. He did not know
    how to read or write.
   He did not know where he was going or what was
    happening to him.

Imagine you are Olaudah.
  Write down what you see
  and talk about your fears…
The Middle Passage
“The first object [I saw] when I arrived on the coast [ofWest Africa], was the
  sea, and a slave ship…waiting for its cargo.These filled me with
  astonishment, … soon… terror… I wished for the last friend, death, to
  relieve me…I would have jumped over the side, but I could not…the
  shrieks of the women, and the groans of the dying, [made] the whole a
  scene of horror almost inconceivable.” (chapter 2)

Dilemma: Olaudah saw other slaves throw themselves overboard to escape
  the horrors aboard the slave ship. The Middle Passage was so horrible,
  Olaudah wanted to kill himself sometimes. Olaudah decided not to try
  to throw himself overboard.
Why do you think he made the choice to survive slavery at this point? What
  were his options?
      Travels as a slave
 The slave ship arrived in Barbados. Olaudah
    had survived the Middle Passage.
   No one bought Olaudah in Barbados. He
    went on another ship to an English Colony in
   A British Navy officer, Michael Henry Pascal,
    bought Olaudah and was his master for 7
    years. He brought him to England.
   When in England, Olaudah learned to read
    and write. Olaudah also learned to speak
   Later, Olaudah traveled all around the world
    with Lt. Pascal.
   Lt. Pascal promised to give Olaudah his
    freedom, but he never did. In 1763, Lt. Pascal
    sold Olaudah to a new master, Mr. King.
   Olaudah made himself very useful to Mr.
    King and learned more about commerce and
Dilemmas and opportunities…
 By chance, Olaudah was bought by a man who allowed him to
    learn to read and write. What kind of opportunity was this for
    Olaudah? If he could learn to read and write in English, what
    other opportunities might he find?
   By chance, Olaudah’s owner traveled the world. This was an
    opportunity for Olaudah to learn about what?
   Lt. Pascal had promised to give Olaudah his freedom but didn’t.
    Olaudah wanted to be free. What are some possible things he
    could do in this dilemma?
   Mr. King was a businessman. This was an opportunity for
    Olaudah to do what?
   Olaudah had many opportunities to try to escape. One of his
    dilemmas was to escape or not. Why do you think he chose not
    to escape from either Lt. Pascal or Mr. King?
How did events from 1756-1763 influence Olaudah? Did
these events help to form him as a leader? Explain your

                                Important Events
    He learned to read and write and speak in English
    He traveled the world and saw many different people and places
    He was promised freedom, but was not given it
    He learned about trade and commerce

What did Olaudah gain from his situation as a slave with Lt. Pascal?
How might this have helped him eventually to become an abolitionist leader?
What did he gain from his situation as a slave with Mr. King?
How might this have helped him eventually to become an abolitionist leader?
How do you think the unfulfilled promise of freedom motivated Olaudah?
 In 1766, Olaudah bought his freedom and worked in the trade
   He lived in England and became an abolitionist
   He lectured against the cruelty of British slave owners
   He spoke out against the English slave trade
   He worked to resettle freed slaves in Sierre Leone
   Olaudah published a narrative about his life in 1789
   His narrative was a great influence on the abolition of slavery in
    England and in the United States
   Olaudah Equiano died in 1797
   In 1807, Great Britain abolished slavery
Dilemmas and opportunities…
 When Olaudah bought his freedom from Mr. King, he faced
  the dilemma of where to go so that he could live his life as a
  freed man. Why do you think he went to England instead of
  staying in the West Indies or the United States?
 Olaudah had many abolitionist friends who supported his
  abolitionist work in England. Why do you think he took the
  opportunity to write a narrative about his life?
 Olaudah worked to help freed slaves move back to Sierra
  Leone in Africa. He faced the dilemma of not moving back
  himself. Why do you think he chose not to return to Africa?
    The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or
    Gustavus Vassa, The African (1789) by Olaudah Equiano

 Olaudah’s principal reason for writing
  his narrative was to evoke compassion
  for the miseries suffered by Africans in
  the slave trade
 An English abolitionist said that
  Olaudah’s book was “more use to the
  Cause [Abolition] than half the people
  of the country”.
 Olaudah said he hoped his book would
  “promote the interests of humanity”
Olaudah tried to convince others that the slave trade was wrong.
Do his words persuade you? How?
 “[It] violates that first natural right of mankind, equality and freedom, and gives
   one man a dominion over his fellows which God could never intend! For it
   raises the owner to a state as far above man as it depresses the slave below it;
   and, with all the presumption of human pride, sets a distinction between them,
   immeasurable in extend, and endless in duration!”

 “When you make men slaves, you deprive them of half their virtue, you set
   them, in your own conduct, an example of fraud, rapine, and cruelty, and
   compel them to live with you in a state of war, and yet you complain that they
   are not honest or faithful!”

 “As the inhuman traffic of slavery is to be taken into the consideration of the
   British legislature, I doubt not, if a system of commerce was established in
   Africa, the demand for manufactures would most rapidly augment…a
   commercial intercourse with Africa opens an inexhaustible source of wealth to
   the manufacturing interests of Great Britain, and to all which the slave trade is
   an objection…The abolition of slavery would be in reality a universal good.”
Olaudah Equiano
 Olaudah was intelligent, quickly learned
    English, studied to read and write and learn
    about the laws and business of his enslavers
   Olaudah converted to Christianity which may
    have influenced how he told his story and who
    became his friends and supporters
   Olaudah’s autobiography was the first slave
    narrative and the first book published in English
    by an African
   His narrative was very effective in behalf of
   Olaudah knew how to convince his readers that
    slavery was inhuman
   Olaudah survived horrible situations and
    overcame them
   Olaudah was willing to work hard for what he
Dilemmas, Luck, or Opportunities? Use your notes and online
resources to answer these questions. When you look for the answers,
can you find more dilemmas and opportunities that Olaudah faced?

1.  Who was Olaudah Equiano?
2.  When did he live?
3.  Where was he born and where did he die?
4.  What were some things happening during this time in the United States?
5.  What were some things happening in Great Britain at this time?
6.  Why didn’t Olaudah try to escape from his African kidnappers or the whites who
    enslaved him?
7. If Olaudah Equiano did not become the slave to Lt. Pascal, would he have become an
8. When Mr. King bought Olaudah, in what ways might Olaudah’s life have been
    different from his life with Lt. Pascal?
9. When Olaudah bought his freedom and moved to England, he converted to
    Christianity. How might this have influenced his perspective?
10. Olaudah had several opportunities of good luck. What were they? How did he use
    them to his advantage?
11. In your opinion, which event or period of time most influenced Olaudah to become a
    leader? Why?
Cause and Effect Organizer
Copy in your notebook and write 10 causes and 10 matching effects
Important event or experience       How the event or experience
in Olaudah’s life…                  formed his leadership qualities…
1. he was kidnapped when            1.        he was too young
   he was 11                             to figure out how to
                                         escape and go back to
                                         Africa so he had to
                                         learn how to make the
                                         best of his situation
Olaudah Equiano –
Does he qualify as a leader?

Now that you have learned a little about Equiano, do you think
 he had leadership qualities?

In your notebook, EXPLAIN your opinion and answer in
  1-3 paragraphs.
Use evidence from the presentation, your notes, and any
  information from other sources in your answer.
 Olaudah Equiano had no choice in his life as a slave. However, he took
  advantage of every opportunity to enhance his life and make himself
  useful. In fact, he learned a new language, reading and writing, English
  law, and trade and commerce. He became a self-educated man. With his
  education and his desire for freedom, Olaudah overcame his
  enslavement by buying his freedom. He gained power over his own life
  and destiny. Now he was able to live the life he chose. His choice was to
  work hard to abolish the practiced that allowed for humans to enslave
  each other. In doing so, he wrote his narrative and convinced many that
  slavery was inhuman. His abolition work influenced not just Great
  Britain which abolished slavery in 1807, but also influenced the growing
  abolitionist movement in the United States. Because Olaudah was
  intelligent, educated, hardworking and diligent, he was well-respected
  and people listened to him. If you return to Slide 3 and the 6 quotes
  about leaders, can you agree that Olaudah Equiano certainly meets the
  criteria to be a leader?
Sources and further reading
During your free lab time, search for more facts and information on Olaudah Equiano,
The Slave Trade, The Middle Passage, and The Abolitionist Movements
   PBS resource guide, Africans in America http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part1/1p276.html
   University of Michigan http://wmich.edu/dialogues/texts/lifeofolaudahequiano.htm
   Brycchan Carey’s website for Olaudah Equiano http://www.brycchancarey.com/equiano/index.htm
   Equiano Foundation Online http://www.atomicage.com/equiano/index.html
   University of North Carolina “Documenting the American South” http://docsouth.unc.edu/neh/neh.html
   Library of Congress “The African American Odyssey, Slaves and the Courts”
   Selections of Olaudah Equiano’s narrative: http://wsu.edu/~dee/Equiano.html
   The Mariner’s Museum, Captive Passage http://wsu.edu/~dee/Equiano.html
   Understanding Slavery http://www.understandingslavery.com/citizen/explore/activism/gallery/?id=1376
   African American Odyssey, Anti-Slavery Movements and the Rise of the Sectional Controversy
   The African American Mosaic http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/african/afam007.html
   The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American Slavery
   History Matters http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/6372/