Olaudah Equiano

Topics: American Civil War, Slavery in the United States, African American Pages: 3 (1101 words) Published: October 8, 2012
Olaudah Equiano’s Influence on the Civil Rights Movement
The United States of America was not always as peaceful as it is today. Even though there is still social unrest, nothing compares to how it was back in the seventeen and eighteen hundreds. In this time period, African American slaves were being brought to the New America in large masses. They were treated like animals just because they were born into a skin color that was considered inferior and trash like. These rough times created a tension in the society that later on built up to the Civil Rights Movement. There was one African American man who made a contribution to society. This man made a tremendous impact on American literature, for he wrote of freedom for all, and how all men are equal. He used God in many of his writing and this was a key aspect to how powerful they were. This man was known as Olaudah Equiano, one of the most prominent African American abolitionists in the seventeen hundreds. He wrote many literature pieces one being his own autobiography. Once he was a free man, he used his experiences of slavery to help push the abolitionist movement. Equiano showed in his writings that Africans should be treated as human beings and this thought began to grow in the mind of Americans leading to the Civil Rights movement.

Olaudah Equiano not only wrote for person recollection but he also wrote with the King and Queen of Britain in mind. In a petition he wrote to the queen in 1788 he stated, “I supplicate your majesty’s compassion for millions of my African countrymen who groan under the lash of tyranny in the West Indies… I implore your interception with your royal consort, in favour of the wretched Africans, that… a period may be put to their misery- and that they may be raised from the condition of brutes to which they are at present degraded, to the rights and situation of freemen.” He wrote this to the Queen of England on behalf of the Africans being treated inhumanly by the...

Cited: 1. Effiong, Philip Uko. "The Civil Rights Movement Represented In Literature." Identities & Issues In Literature (1997): 1-2. MagillOnLiterature Plus. Web. 1 Oct. 2012.
2. Grigsby, John L. "Olaudah Equiano." Cyclopedia Of World Authors, Fourth Revised Edition (2003): 1-2. MagillOnLiterature Plus. Web. 1 Oct. 2012.
3. Kelleter, Frank. "Ethnic Self-Dramatization & Technologies Of Travel In The Interesting Narrative Of The Life Of Olaudah Equiano, Or Gustavus Vassa, The African, Written By Himself (1789)." Early American Literature 39.1 (2004): 67. MAS Ultra - School Edition. Web. 1 Oct. 2012.
4. Tise, Larry E. "Liberty & The Rights Of Africans." American Counter Revolution (1998): 98-125. History Reference Center. Web. 1 Oct. 2012 (only chapter 7).
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