Portrait of Olaudah Equiano.
Olaudah Equiano (c1745-97). Drawn by Daniel Orme (1789). Public Domain.

“Most British school children are taught white MP William Wilberforce was the most significant abolition movement campaigner,” says Marc Wadsworth, writing in The Voice newspaper.

But outside of parliament Olaudah Equiano (c1745-97) was arguably just as important. 

As a child he was taken from Africa to America via the middle passage into slavery. After later buying his freedom he became a key figure in the abolitionist movement.

His memoir The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano (1789) told of slavery’s horrors and was widely read at the time.

Equiano lived in Fitzrovia at 13 Tottenham Street in 1788 and then in 1789 at 73 Riding House Street (previously 10 Union Street) where he wrote his autobiography.

Now 225 years after his death Wadsworth has produced with Deborah Hobson a docudrama about the life of Equiano and it is available to listen to on BBC Sounds.

BBC Radio 4. The Amazing Life of Olaudah Equiano. With actor Tayo Aluko playing Equiano. Produced by Marc Wadsworth and Deborah Hobson. The-Latest Ltd production for BBC Radio 4. First broadcast on 24 May 2022.