Authenticity of Slave Narratives Debated

Speakers/Lectures | | February 23, 2007 at 09:31

History is constantly being written and re-written it seems. So much of what we think we know is based on the personal journeys, triumphs and failures of simple human beings, who through fate or will, succeeded in changing the course of events in some special way. We study those individual lives, often through letters, authoritative biographies and narratives to gain insight into what we then label as the true past. When the authenticity of those narratives and biographies is called into question, it threatens everything we believe, or have been led to believe. If the case for invalidity is proven, history is re-written.

One such case is the story of Olaudah Equiano, a 18th century Igbo ex-slave and abolitionist. Prof. Catherine Acholonu, the researcher responsible for the narrative of Equiano (also known as Gustavus Vassa), will be at the Horn Theatre at CCSN Cheyenne Campus on Tuesday, Feb 27 to defend her work against a book written by Prof. Vincent Carretta, “Equiano the Africa: Biography of a Self Made Man.” The debate transcends the issue of one man’s biography; the controversy over slave narratives casts shadow on such accepted accounts as the “middle passage” of Africans aboard the hellish slaving ships. This program is offered as part of Black History Month. Horn Theatre CCSN 3200 E. Cheyenne Ave.

related: Black History Month

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