The Middle Passage

Essay #1 (The Middle Passage)
Using the selections below, compare and contrast how the Olaudah Equiano and Robert Livingston, Jr., a
member of a wealthy New York family which organized a slaving voyage, discuss the Middle Passage:
1. “Olajudah Describes the Middle Passage, 1789” [Yawp Reader]
2. “Robert Livingston, Jr. to Peter DeWitt” (Letter) and “Slave Deaths on the Rhode Island” (Chart)
3. Optional Text: Decks of a Slave Ship (Illustration). You may, but are not required to, incorporate
this as a third reference if it helps support your argument in any way.
Please identify a theme or themes that emerge from these texts that relate to the early colonization of the
Americas. Consider the tone of these accounts, the authors’ assumptions and points of view, and how
Equiano’s narrative illuminates Robert Livingston’s, and vice versa. Although there may be similarities,
often the best arguments identify DIFFERENCES.
You should be prepared to integrate information from class lectures and discussions as necessary to
demonstrate your understanding of how your topic connects to the course more broadly.
You are NOT to consult any Internet sources for this paper. Any information from Web sources or
plagiarism of any kind will result in a “0.”
The paper should 1) present an original thesis and support it with evidence from the texts; 2) include a
title that accurately reflects your argument; and 3) use parenthetical citations based on the pages numbers
at the top or bottom of the documents. Example: The author provides a first-person account of the horrors
of the Middle Passage (Equiano 1).
I strongly encourage you to see me in advance about essay ideas.
The essay should be four pages, double spaced, using 12-point Times New Roman font and normal page
margins. I will deduct one-third of a letter grade for each day papers are late and one-half a point for each
of the errors on the accompanying grammatical sheet.