Reliable Sources

Topics: Slavery, Source, Atlantic slave trade Pages: 2 (697 words) Published: February 2, 2013
Reliable Sources Essay
Reliable source writings are everywhere, whether it be on a website or in a textbook all authors claim whatever they have to say is true, and they claim firsthand accounts. How can one be sure of themselves that any one of these authors is actually telling the truth? Some accounts can never truly be proven false or true, but evidence can lead some to come to conclusions themselves. In the two stories, or reliable source writings, Of Plymouth Plantation written by William Bradford; or The Interesting Narrative of the Life of OlaudahEquianowritten by OlaudahEquiano, both authors claim to have experienced what they wrote about firsthand. But how can one be sure that each is a “reliable source”. It all boils down to what the reader wants to believe.

Olaudah’s narrative is a moving piece, describing the hardships of the middle passage after being captured by the Europeans. Olaudah describes the hellish event in vivid detail. He speaks of how the nauseating aromas emanating from the lower decks, and describes the living conditions for the slaves on board. Many slaves suffer from sickness and starvation. Yet, it is hard for one to believe that Olaudah had actually experienced this horrible occurrence.

There are three major things that factor into this conclusion. Firstly historians discovered documents stating that Olaudah was born in the colony of South Carolina. This alone refutes the fact that he made the passage across the middle passage. Any one person who had knowledge of the middle passage could have written a story about the events of the journey, which means Olaudah may have heard the story of another slave’s firsthand experience and may have made it his own. Secondly there was a manifesto of the slave ship he would have been on, and his name was not on the list anywhere. Thirdly, and this is the most surprising thing, he owned slaves and a large plantation. Considering he spoke out against slavery and was a slave himself, this...

Cited: Bradford, William.Of Plymouth Plantation. American Literature.McDougelLitell, 2009. 78-84. Print.
Equiano, Olaudah. The Interesting Narrative of the Life of OlaudahEquiano.American Literature.McDougelLitell, 2009. 78-84. Print.
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