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Renaming to Equiano Bridge

The Riverside Bridge in Cambridge is to be renamed the Equiano Bridge on 31 October, in honour of Olaudah Equiano, the slave abolitionist, who was actively supported by the Countesss of Huntingdon.

Olaudah Equiano (c 1745-1797) was known for most of his life as Gustavus Vassa 'The African'. Equiano himself was an enslaved man who bought his freedom and went on to write compellingly about the horror of his experiences, becoming a prominent figure associated with the campaign to abolish the slave trade.

Equiano was born in what is now Nigeria, and was sold into slavery aged 11 to a Royal Navy officer. He was sold twice more, before becoming a slave for the prominent merchant, Robert King. While working as a deckhand, valet and barber for King, Equiano earned money by trading on the side. In only three years, he made enough money to buy his own freedom in 1766.

As a freedman in London, Equiano supported the British abolitionist movement. He was part of the Sons of Africa, an abolitionist group composed of Africans living in Britain, and he was active among leaders of the anti-slave trade movement in the 1780s.

The Countess of Huntingdon helped to fund Equianio in writing and promoting his 18c memoirs. Equiano also went on to do extensive work in Sierra Leone, the colony for freed slaves.

The renaming of the bridge will take place on Monday 31 October at 10.30am.

Below is a link to Equiano's work: The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano. Chapter X gives an interesting and wonderful account of his conversion to the Christian faith.

Life of Olaudah Equiano