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Birmingham City Council

Section 5 - Published Voices

A few more voices are found in autobiographies and other volumes published by former slaves.

Olaudah Equiano
Perhaps the best known is the author of The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, the African. His book was first published in 1789 and reprinted many times. It tells of his experiences in Africa, and as a slave and later a free man. Extracts from this book form document 5/2.Olaudah Equiano was deeply involved in the campaign to abolish slavery, and travelled widely. He visited Birmingham in 1789 and met with several of the city's most prominent people including Matthew Boulton, Samuel Galton and Dr Priestley. The letter he wrote after his visit to thank his hosts is quoted as document 5/3.

Peter Stanford
From Bondage to Liberty: Being the Life Story of Rev P T Stanford, who was Once a Slave and is now the Recognised Pastor of an English Baptist church was published in Smethwick in 1889.
Peter Stanford was born into slavery in America, and became the pastor of Hope Street Baptist Chapel in Birmingham in 1889. The portrait is taken from Birmingham Faces and Places.

List of documents in section 5

5.1

Title page of 1793 edition. This book is available in theArchives and Heritage section of theCentral Library.

See document 5.1


5.2

Extracts from The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, the African.

Select for extracts from document 5.2


5.3

Letter written by Olaudah Equiano to thank his hosts in Birmingham for their welcome. He was renamed Gustavus Vassa by his master, as many slaves were renamed after European heroes by their owners. Quoted in A Century of Birmingham Life by J. A.Langford, which is available in the Local Studies & History section.

See document 5.3

See a transcription of document 5.3


5.4

Photograph of the Rev Peter Stanford, from Birmingham Faces and Places, available in the Local Studies and History section.

See document 5.4



5.5 - 5.8

Extracts from From Bondage to Liberty: Being the Life Story of Rev P T Stanford, who was Once a Slave and is now the Recognised Pastor of an English Baptist church, 1889, referring to both his early childhood as a slave and his later experiences in Birmingham, available in the Local Studies and History section.


See document 5.5

See document 5.6

See document 5.7 page 1

See document 5.7 page 2

See document 5.7 page 3

See document 5.8



5.9

Advertisement for a concert by theFemale American Serenadersin Birmingham Town Hall, 9 June 1847. This is the earliest example we have found in Birmingham City Archives of black artists visiting the city. Select for a larger version of this document.

See document 5.9


Olaudah Equiano
The Rev. Peter Stanford - Birmingham's first Black Minister
Features on Black History in Birmingham Menu
Slave Trade Main Menu
'Some Common Bond'
Joseph Sturge and the Anti-Slavery Society
Early Black Presence in Birmingham, The
Diversity in Birmingham Libraries
The Trade Connections Between Birmingham and the West Indies