Examining Sundiata’s Epic, and Phillis Wheatley’s poem

After examining Sundiata’s Epic, and Phillis Wheatley’s poem, what do we learn about life in West Africa, and the European Enslavement trade

After examining Sundiata’s Epic, and Phillis Wheatley’s poem, what do we learn about life in West Africa, and the European Enslavement trade? Students need to explore the great Empire of Mali, as well, as the multiple Kingdoms in West Africa that Sundiata comes in to contact with, as he travels from Mali to Ghana, and back. Another piece of literature to consider is Equiano’s Autobiography, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, Or Gustavus Vassa, the African, which is an excellent text to complement the readings covered in topic one. Equiano’s text is a great text to use as a subway between Sundiata’s Epic and Wheatley’s poem. Using Equiano’s text, students will need to ask themselves: What do we learn about the customs, traditions, manners, and cultures of the various peoples living in West Africa from the interior to the coast? Further, how was African servitude different than European American enslavement? The text offers a first-hand account of someone who was enslaved by Europeans and survived to tell their story. Equiano’s first hand-account is rare and unique which makes it special because an African male is describing the European Enslavement trade from his point of view, which means we have testimony from an African perspective. In addition, student’s need to expound upon how Equiano’s narrative reveals the ugly horrors of being enslaved on board a slave ship or slaver? The European enslavement trade, and American chattel enslavement in general, can be expanded on further in detail to show how African economies, cultures, ways of life, the African family structure were dismantled under these oppressive institutions. This is where outside historical sources can be used. Think about Sankofa. In final, discuss the aftermath of the European enslavement trade on Africa (Maafa) and how African peoples are still suffering from European colonization, globally? What measures have been taken by Africana people to restore African culture and civilization? How can Africana literature function as a vehicle to assist in rebuilding Africana communities? In final, students need to discuss what they took away personally from Sundiata’s Epic, Equiano’s narrative, and Wheatley’s poem. Another thing to consider is how does Sundiata’s Epic help us to understand African and African American history/literature today? Please rely on the text itself and outside sources as evidence to support any claims made. Students can also incorporate similar works that mirror and compliment the readings, in order, to help students elaborate further on their ideas within their’ Final Essays. Some additional ideas for external readings are as follows: under topic one, Ottabah Cugoano’s narrative on European enslavement is another great source to consult.

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