- Published: October 27, 2022
- Updated: October 27, 2022
- University / College: University of Colorado Boulder
- Language: English
- Downloads: 9
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 Englishmen.
Equiano was brilliant with his words; therefore, his writing made him famous and wealthy. He wrote many petitions and made a true stand to abolish slavery. He had truly made an impact in regards to being the voice of the slaves. When his petitions went through the House of Commons in 1792 and designed a pill to abolish slave trade in 1796, was a turning point for the slaves and their freedom. Even though it failed, he was still leaving a long lasting effect, for he had inspired many other abolitionists to follow in his footsteps (Kelleter 89-91).
One reason Equiano’s writings were so powerful, were because he incorporated religion that spoke to many people. For example he once stated in one of his writings, “ Now, Sir, would it not be more honour to us to have a few darker visages than perhaps yours among us. As the groundwork, why not establish intermarriages at home, and in our Colonies? and encourage open, free, and generous love upon Nature’s own wide and extensive plan, subservient only to moral rectitude, without distinction of the colour of a skin?
Away then with your narrow impolitic notion of preventing by law what will be a national honour, national strength, and productive of national virtue—Intermarriages” (Grigsby 32-36). This quote shows many people how he feels about his Christian values of marriage. He used God’s teachings in many of his writings, and thus portrayed values that he believed all moral people should live by. His veracious religious values helped him in standing up for the purpose of all men becoming equal (Effiong 101-109).
Equiano did not directly lead to the Civil Rights movement, but he did indeed create abolitionist spirits that eventually lead to the Civil Rights movement. The Civil Right movement was a historic event in United States history. It was a turning point in the fight for equality among different races. Equiano was not alive when the movement took place; however, his writings lingered in the minds of many who participated. Equiano not only wrote of why the African American people should be free men, women, and children, but he also wrote of the horrors and devastation of the matter.
In many of his pieces he describes how the Englishmen brutally tortured the African Americans for no reason (Kelleter 35-36). He discussed how many of the Slaves being brought to America and how they would try and jump of the ships any chance they got to drown themselves. They would rather die with freedom then live in America under the English rule. Many Americans began to read Equianos writings, and realized how bad the act of slavery actually was. This lingered in the back of many people’s minds and even created a solid group of abolitionists.
Even though Equinao was not around during the Civil Rights Movement, his writings were what inspired many early Americans (Tise 45-52). Olaudah Equiano showed in his writings that Africans should be treated as human beings, and this thought began to grow in the minds of Americans leading to the Civil Rights Movement, religious values, and the petitioning of free African Americans in the New World. In fact, his descriptions of the horrors of slavery all indirectly contributed to the uprising of the Civil Rights Movement.
Olaudah Equiano was a man who after gaining freedom received his independence and then developed a distinguished image of him amongst many young scholars of that time. He was brilliant in his writings and always stayed true to his religious beliefs. Equiano used detail in an extraordinary way to help portray what was happening at the time. Indeed equiano did not directly contribute to the Civil Rights Movement, however he was the spark to a great flame.