KIDNAPPED AFRICANS (Illustration) American History Biographies African American History Civil Rights Law and Politics Social Studies Tragedies and Triumphs Ethics Slaves and Slave Owners

Samuel Wood created this woodcut in 1807 to illustrate an “Iron mask, collar, leg shackles and spurs used to restrict slaves.” The image is online, courtesy Library of Congress. 


"Slavers" used inhuman devices to control their victims while ships bound for the "new world" were crowded and foul.

What was it like for an African child who had been kidnapped from his home and country and made to do the "white man's" bidding? Olaudah Equiano, born in 1745 (in what is now Nigeria), answered that question. He was a chief's son, and one of the first Africans to both live through slavery and write about it.

His book, initially published in 1789, describes life in his own country and recounts the horrors of his "middle passage" (not to mention decades of bondage). He later became the leading black abolitionist in Britain.

Thanks to the Library of Congress, you can read an early edition of his Narrative.  Equiano asks compelling questions:

  • "Oh nominal Christians! Is this what your God meant when he said do unto others...?"
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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5155stories and lessons created

Original Release: Jun 01, 2002

Updated Last Revision: Apr 06, 2014

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"KIDNAPPED AFRICANS" AwesomeStories.com. Jun 01, 2002. Sep 19, 2018.
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