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date: 02 June 2020

Gronniosaw, James Albert Ukawsaw locked

(c. 1710–c. 1773),
  • Vincent Carretta

Extract

slave narrative author, was born Ukawsaw Gronniosaw, probably between 1710 and 1714 in Bournou (Bornu), a kingdom in what is now northeastern Nigeria. He was the youngest child of the oldest daughter of the king of Bournou. All that is known about James Albert Ukawsaw Gronniosaw is found in A Narrative of the Most Remarkable Particulars in the Life of James Albert Ukawsaw Gronniosaw, an African Prince, as Related by Himself (1772), one of the earliest “as-told-to” slave narratives recorded by a white amanuensis. According to this account, Ukawsaw Gronniosaw, spiritually dissatisfied with the animist faith in which he was raised, alienated himself from his friends and relatives by his constant questions challenging their faith in physical objects, as well as by his growing belief in the existence of an uncreated creator. Consequently he became increasingly “dejected and melancholy.”

When an African merchant from the Gold ...

A version of this article originally appeared in African American National Biography.

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