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James Albert Ukawsaw Gronniosaw’s idyllic childhood as a prince in the area that is now Nigeria came to an abrupt end when a merchant persuaded the teenaged Gronniosaw to travel to the Gold Coast (present-day Ghana) and then sold him into American slavery. Years later, in Great Britain, Gronniosaw related his story to a Dutch woman, who wrote and published Narrative of the Remarkable Particulars in the Life of James Albert Ukawsaw Gronniosaw, An African Prince, related by himself (1770). Class-conscious British readers were sympathetic to the story of the victimized African prince; the book was widely read and later influenced the British slave narratives of the authors and abolitionists Olaudah Equiano and Ottobah Cugoano Gronniosaw was a slave to several Dutch families in colonial New England His last owner was Theodorus Jacobus Frelinghuysen a Dutch Reformed minister in New Jersey who bought Gronniosaw ...

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Vincent Carretta

spiritual autobiographer, was born around 1705 in what is now northeastern Nigeria. He was the youngest child of the oldest daughter of the king of Bornu. Gronniosaw alienated himself from his friends and relatives by constantly challenging their faith in physical objects and by his growing belief in the existence of an uncreated creator. “Dejected and melancholy,” Gronniosaw accompanied a trading African merchant to the Gold Coast, more than a thousand miles away, where he had been promised that he could play with boys his own age and “see houses walk upon the water with wings to them, and the white folks.” The local king on the Gold Coast, however, thought him a spy and decided to behead him. Gronniosaw’s obvious courage in the face of death caused the king to sell him into slavery instead.

Gronniosaw successfully implored a Dutch captain to purchase him after a French slave trader ...

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African slave who lived in England and recorded his experiences in a narrative. His Narrative of the Most Remarkable Particulars in the Life of James Albert Ukawsaw Gronniosaw, an African Prince, as Related by Himself (1790) was published when he was 60 years old. It was written down by Shirley Walter, a young Christian woman from the town of Leominster, who was initially interested in Gronniosaw's story for personal reasons, but eventually published the narrative to expose the realities of his life, as well as to aid Gronniosaw and his family financially. The profits from the sales of the narrative were entirely received by him.

Gronniosaw was born in Bournou Nigeria of a royal family His mother was the eldest daughter of the King of Bournou and he enjoyed a happy childhood his grandfather doted on him A deeply curious child Gronniosaw was perplexed by spiritual divine ...

Article

Vincent Carretta

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 ...

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A Narrative of the Most Remarkable Particulars in the Life of James Albert Ukawsaw Gronniosaw, An African Prince appeared in London in 1770, related by a former slave from America in need of financial support for his family. In the work, Gronniosaw mentions how the Puritan spiritual writers John Bunyan and Richard Baxter influenced him. Thus, he tells his life story in accordance with the spiritual autobiography's traditional pattern of sin, conversion, and subsequent rebirth.

The narrative deals with Gronniosaw s remembrance of Africa where he was kidnapped and sold into slavery Transported to Barbados he was resold to a young gentleman in New York and later to a minister who taught him about Christianity A schoolmaster generously offered instructional services to the young slave who gained freedom when his master died Gronniosaw then worked aboard various ships until he settled in England There he married white Betty and ...

Article

James Albert Ukawsaw Gronniosaw was born in present-day northeastern Nigeria to a daughter of the royal family of Bournou (Bornu). As a young man, he left his home and family when a traveling Gold Coast merchant lured him away with marvelous tales of coastal trade with Europeans. Upon his arrival at the Gold Coast, Gronniosaw was accused of espionage by a rival king, condemned to execution, and sold to a Dutch slave merchant.

After surviving the Middle Passage from Africa to Barbados, Gronniosaw was purchased first by a wealthy Dutch family of New York City and then, in 1730, by the Dutch Reformed minister Theodorus Frelinghuysen. Frelinghuysen, a famous proponent of religious revivalism, provided Gronniosaw with a religious education and guided his conversion to Christianity. Gronniosaw also learned to read Dutch under the tutelage of a local schoolmaster. When Frelinghuysen died in 1747 or 1748 Gronniosaw was ...