Compare the 18th century African slave trade to a game of checkers. Played on a checkered board of 64 opposing colors, the object of checkers is to capture or block all the men of an opponent. Careful planning of attack and defense are key elements to winning. The Interesting Narrative of Olaudah Equiano does more than just detail the experiences of a former African slave, it sets forth the play sequence between the various players engaged in the slave trade, the emotions involved, the effects and consequences on the players, and the future of the game if it were allowed to continue.
Equiano experienced life as a slave on several continents. He endured the torment of the Middle Passage and the various physical and emotional insults and tortures, which came as a result of bondage to another individual. These descriptions are important in establishing the primary players in the slave game. The first is the African player and the other is the White player represented by both Europeans and Americans.
The beginning descriptions of Equiano’s tribal life are instrumental in understanding the nature of the African player. Equiano perceives the difference in the African way of life versus that of the European as merely one of time. The Africans have not had the time to learn and grow as the Europeans have. Equiano maintains the notion that existing in a different state of being does not give the European the right to take advantage of their situation in order to promote their own welfare. “Let the polished and haughty European recollect that his ancestors were once, like the African, uncivilized, and even barbarous. Let such reflections as these melt the pride of their superiority into sympathy for the wants and miseries of their sable brethren and compel them to acknowledge that understanding is not confined to feature or color.”
Equiano uses scripture to support his idea that all men were created the same and merely existed in different states of progression....
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