The Sons of Africa were a group of former slaves who became prominent campaigners in the fight to end the slave trade in Britain. Comprised of educated and erudite individuals, they were considered to be Britain’s first black political organisation. Led by Ottobah Cugoano and Olaudah Equiano, they worked alongside other abolitionist groups to bring about change through various political steps.
The campaign to end slavery was fought by numerous individuals and groups, including parliamentarians, philanthropists, Quakers, other religious groups, and former slaves. By the end of the eighteenth century, the campaign gained real traction in Britain, with individuals like Equiano and Cugoano imparting first-hand accounts of their experiences. The transportation of slaves by Britain was reaching its peak, leading to great profits for the imperial coffers. The public began to voice concerns about the practices, bringing about a moral dilemma for many who had made substantial financial gains.
The Sons Of Africa
The Sons of Africa were a group of Africans who had gained their freedom from slavery either by buying their way out or running away from their owner’s household. The group was made up of educated and erudite individuals who wanted to make their contribution to the abolitionist movement. The group would gather together a community of like-minded campaigners and became Britain’s first black political organisation. They worked alongside other abolitionist groups to bring about change through various political steps, including the passing of new acts in parliament.
Ottobah Cugoano was originally from Ghana and began his enslavement when he was only thirteen years old. After surviving the perilous journey aboard the slave ship, he began work in the Lesser Antilles working out in the plantations. He would later describe the abhorrent mistreatment he experienced, witnessing the torture and beatings that many of his peers were subjected to. By 1772, his fate would change when he was purchased by a British merchant who would subsequently take him to London where he would offer him his freedom. He became increasingly politically active, securing the release of a kidnapped black man called Henry Demane with the help of prominent abolitionist Granville Sharp. He produced a publication entitled, “Thoughts and Sentiments on the Evil and Wicked Traffic of the Slavery and Commerce of the Human Species”, which called for the abolition of the practice of slavery but also the freedom for all those currently enslaved.
Olaudah Equiano was taken aboard a vessel by Navy officer Michael Henry Pascal who renamed him Gustavus Vassa. He would go through a few more names after that as well as different owners during which time he gained great experience on the high seas, was taught to read and write and even worked in the trading and commerce business. In time he had accompanied Pascal during the Seven Years’ War and later arrived in England where he was educated and converted to Christianity. After being sold on two further occasions and transported back to America to work for a Quaker merchant, eventually he was able to buy his freedom. Equiano’s autobiography, “The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano”, became a bestseller and helped to raise awareness of the horrors of the slave trade.
In conclusion, the Sons of Africa were a group of former slaves who made a significant contribution to the abolitionist movement in Britain. Their work alongside other abolitionist groups helped to bring about change through various political steps, including the passing of new acts in parliament. The leadership of individuals like Ottobah Cugoano and Olaudah Equiano helped to raise awareness of the horrors of the slave trade and brought about an end to the barbaric practice of transporting humans for profit. The Sons of Africa will always be remembered as Britain’s first black political organisation and for their significant contribution to the fight against slavery.