This excerpt gives a first-person account of Equiano’s forced transatlantic voyage, including being brought on board, the horrors of being on deck and being sold in the yard once the ship reached land.
John Brown was charged with murder, insurrection and treason after the raid on Harpers Ferry. After being found guilty and while awaiting his sentencing, he was asked if there was any reason he should not be given the death sentence. He responded with this speech.
Using repetition, similes and metaphors, this poem speaks of overcoming oppression—specifically slavery—with poise and pride. Despite all of the hardships, the speaker emphasizes a sense of confidence and hope.