12/52 Ghana – Quobna Ottobah Cugoano

Quobina Ottobah Cugoano, who was also known as John Stuart, was born around 1757 in what is now Ajumako, Ghana. His book Thoughts And Sentiments On The Evil & Wicked Traffic Of The Slavery and Commerce of the Human Species forms the basis of this episode.

25 March 2019 marks the 212 year anniversary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act being passed by British parliament, which led the way for the slave trade to be completely abolished years later. In light of this important date, I wanted to tell the story of one of the freed slaves who fought for the abolishment of slavery in Britain and the British Empire. I’ve found since living here than the British can be very proud that they outlawed slavery before the Americans. So this story, although about an abolitionist, is not going to focus on his role in that victory, but instead on Britain’s role in him ending up here.

There is plenty of information about Cugoano if you look in the right places, here are some starting points:
The British Library
National Archives
Black History Month
Kwame Selikem Okatakyie’s YT

The above image by Richard Cosway (1784) is in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery.

Thanks to Blue Dot Sessions for the music in this episode.

British Subjects is produced by Anna Rose Kerr.