The autobiography of Olaudah Equiano, a prominent African in late 18th-century Britain, is quoted, anthologized and interpreted in dozens of books and articles. More than any single contemporary, Equiano speaks for the fate of millions of Africans in the era of the transatlantic slave trade. This study attempts to create a rounded portrait of the man behind the literary image, and to study Equiano in the context of Atlantic slavery.
James Walvin taught for many years at the University of York where he is now Professor of History Emeritus. He also held visiting positions in the Caribbean, the U.S.A. and Australia. He won the prestigious Martin Luther King Memorial Prize for his book Black and White, and has published widely on the history of slavery and the slave trade, including more recently Black Ivory and A History of British Slavery. His book The People's Game was a pioneering study of the history of football and remains in print thirty years after its first publication. His latest book, The Trader, The Owner, The Slave: Parallel Lives in the Age of Slavery, will be published by Random House UK in March 2008.
Part 1 From Africa to slavery: Africa remembered; slave ships and landfall. Part 2 Varieties of slavery: a slave at sea; England, slaves and freedom; West Indian slavery; working for freedom; freedom in the shadow of slavery. Part 3 An English life: seeking salvation; all at sea again; life in England. Part 4 Public figure: back to Africa; the campaign against the slave trade; the book; black enlightenment. Part 5 Afterwards: decline and fall - and rediscovery.