An adaptation of Olaudah Equiano’s Interesting Narrative published for Black children in 1829, now given new life in a major scholarly edition.
In 1829, Samuel Wood and Sons, a New York publisher of children’s literature, printed and sold the Quaker Abigail Field Mott’s Life and Adventures of Olaudah Equiano. Mott adapted Olaudah Equiano’s Interesting Narrative, a bestselling autobiography first published in London in 1789, for Black children studying at New York African Free Schools, one of the first educational systems to teach individuals of African descent in the United States.
By reissuing Mott’s neglected adaptation with contextualizing scholarly apparatus, Eric D. Lamore disrupts the editorial tradition of selecting a London edition of Equiano’s Interesting Narrative, and positions Equiano in the United States instead of Great Britain. Lamore’s volume contains Mott’s children’s book, which includes a series of illustrations, in a facsimile edition; instructive notes on Life and Adventures; a provocative essay on the adaptation; and selections from relevant texts on the New York African Free Schools and other related topics. With its focus on the intersections of early Black Atlantic and American studies, children’s literature, history of education, life writing, and book history, this edition offers a fresh take on Equiano and his autobiography for a variety of twenty-first-century audiences.