Essay by kmr819College, UndergraduateD, October 2014

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Katie Reid

Equiano's Huminization of Slavery

Equiano was a man who experienced a unique lifestyle of being a slave to other Africans and to white men. His story through his home land, to the slave trade, to arriving in America was dehumanizing and cruel; however he managed to find small perspectives to make his journey as civilizing as possible.

One tactic Equiano used was to look to the future and come up with plans to escape slavery. In the first slave home he lived in he was given little, but enough, freedom to sketch out a route back to his fathers home. His plans would have been successful had he not had to run away too soon.

Another way he humanized his situation was by trying to become friends with his masters. This approach worked fairly well when he was located in Tinmah. He lucked out here because these people did end up treating him more like family than a slave.

They spoke similar languages, had comparable believes and culture, and accepted Equiano. This status only lasted for two months before he was sold again, and his life was taken in a completely different direction.

The greatest of the horrifying and dehumanizing processes he went through was the Transatlantic Slave Trade. He was force feed, crammed into the bellows of a ship, and beaten/whipped for acting up. Equiano himself referred to the slaves a cargo because they were treated as such. The only way that he found humanization in this world was to take what little control he had over the situation, suicide. Although Equiano was unsuccessful at it, he tried and some other Africans succeeded in killing themselves.

The humanization process was a difficult one that only worked with an encouraging mind.