“I was soon put down under the decks … with the loathsomeness of the stench and crying together, I became so sick and low that I was not able to eat, nor had I the least desire to taste anything. I now wished for the last friend, death, to relieve me…” – From the book … The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African
Friends, it is the weekend and although some of us have to work, most of our readers will have some time off in the next two days.
I urge you to read the full piece from a blogger who attended Westminster Abbey on March 27th for the national service to commemorate the abolition of slavery act. The story the Nigerian-born Barbados slave Olaudah Equiano is included in the article along with many other historical and contemporary references.
Grab a cup of coffee or a beer, sit down and take some time. It is worth it…
The Daily Barnabas Blog: Bicentenary of Slave Trade Abolition
Here is an excerpt from the middle of the article that talks about Toyin Agbetu – the fellow who interrupted the service by shouting at the Queen – but you really should read the entire article…
Understandably, but sadly, the bicentenary of the Act of Parliament to abolish the transatlantic slave trade has stirred up a great deal of controversy and ill feeling. Different groups are using the occasion to push particular agendas, and it is all too easy to forget that slavery destroyed the lives of real human beings, of families, villages, whole societies.
We may not know the names of most of those who were enslaved – in fact, they were dehumanised by being given numbers or, sometimes, the names of kings and emperors (Olaudah Equiano, for example, had several names at different times, including Gustavus Vasa, the name of a Swedish king) – but each and every one of them was someone’s son or daughter or mother or father, filled with the gems of God-given talents and capacities, spiritual, moral and intellectual.
I felt Toyin Agbetu’s rage. It swept through the solemnity of the commemoration service in the Abbey like a gale through a forest. Whatever one thinks of his beliefs and his choice of a time and place to express his anger, there was no denying his rage.
Did Mr Agbetu achieve anything to improve the lot of Africa and Africans? I doubt it. But we learned something very different from him than we do from the likes of Bob Geldof and other white Europeans who are moved to raise funds and “do good” in Africa.
I am determined to learn more about this episode in history and to come to a deeper understanding of slavery and the slave trade…
… excerpt from The Daily Barnabas Blog: Bicentenary of Slave Trade Abolition