Costumed interpreter as abolitionist Olaudah Equiano
Costumed interpreter as abolitionist Olaudah Equiano

This workshop takes pupils back in time to the 1780s, where they meet and listen to the arguments of a slave trader, before being introduced to Olaudah Equiano (played by a costumed interpreter). Equiano tells students about his experiences as a slave, how he bought his freedom and how he is fighting for the trade's abolition. Students are asked to support Equiano in his quest.

Using original documents held here at the archives, students are given the opportunity to find evidence that will support Equiano's argument for abolition. Documents include the Barbot Journals from 1681, providing a wealth of information about Africa before the Atlantic Slave Trade, Treasury records from the 1780s and Colonial Records that provide evidence of resistance and rebellion amongst the enslaved.

At the end of the session, pupils will discuss their findings with Equiano on what life was like for the enslaved, how slaves rebelled and how they resisted slavery. They will also have the opportunity to see a letter written by Equiano to the political reformer Thomas Hardy in 1792.

"Overall, a very impressive and enjoyable session. The pupils thoroughly enjoyed their day out, and learned a lot about the methodology of the historian through scrutinising primary documents." KS3 teacher

Session options

This session can be delivered as a

  • Workshop
  • Videoconference

All activities must be booked in advance.

Tel: +44 (0)20 8392 5365

Fax: +44 (0)20 8487 9202

Available: Dates to be confirmed           

Cost: Free

Duration: 2 hours as a workshop or 1 hour as a videoconference

Age: Years 8-9

Download the resource pack for this session as a PDF (7.29Mb)