"Olaudah Equiano, born in 1745 (in what is now Nigeria) … was one of the first Africans to live through chattel slavery and write about it. …
"The first time the young lad set eyes on a slave ship, he was terrified. He thought he was brought on board to be eaten by the white men:
‘When I looked round the ship too and saw a large furnace of copper boiling, and a multitude of black people of every description chained together, every one of their countenances expressing dejection and sorrow, I no longer doubted my fate and quite overpowered with horror and anguish, I fell motionless on the deck and fainted...I asked if we were not to be eaten by those white men with horrible looks, red faces and long hair?’
Conditions on board ship were so bad … many of the kidnapped Africans thought death was preferable to living on a slave ship. Some of the captives jumped into the water, committing suicide. More would have followed had the crew not stopped them."
"Equiano's ship arrived in Barbados. He, and the other captured Africans, were sold as slaves on the Caribbean island. He spent many years at sea as the slave of a naval man. Although he became a freeman in 1766, for the sum of forty pounds sterling, he never saw his family again.
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"Thanks to the Library of Congress, you can read an early edition of Equiano's narrative. Initially published in 1789 - when he was Britain's leading abolitionist - Equiano's book asks compelling questions:
'O, ye nominal Christians!' he proclaims. 'Is this what you learned from your God who said to you ‘Do unto all men as you would have them do unto you’?'”
"So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets" (Matthew 7:12, cf. Luke 6:31). "Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law" (Romans 13:8).