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Olaudah Equiano. From the frontispiece of The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, 1794. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-54026).


Equiano, Olaudah (1745–31 March 1797), sailor, abolitionist, and writer, also known as Gustavus Vassa, was born in eastern Nigeria, the son of an Ibo village chief. When he was eleven, people from another Ibo village captured Equiano and his sister, beginning a six-month period during which he was separated from his sister and sold from one master to another until he reached the coast. There Equiano’s African masters sold him to white slave traders headed for Barbados. From Barbados he traveled to Virginia, where he was bought by Henry Pascal, the captain of a British trading vessel. During the spring 1757 voyage to England, Pascal gave Equiano the name Gustavus Vassa, which he used throughout his life, yet Equiano still included his African name on the title page of his autobiography....


Stuck, Hudson (11 November 1863–11 October 1920), Episcopal clergyman, social reformer, and author, was born in Paddington, England (a suburb of London), the son of James Stuck, a lumberyard foreman, and Jane Hudson. Upon completion of secondary education at King’s College, London, and service as secretary to the political maverick and businessman William Hall in Bristol, Stuck emigrated to the United States in 1885....