DuSable Museum of African American History Celebrates New Equiano.Stories Film, Olaudah Equiano Exhibit During Black History Month

CHICAGO (WLS) — What would the story be if the experience of slavery could be told by someone with a cell phone?

It would look a lot like Equiano Stories, a collaboration between the DuSable Museum of African American History and Stelo Stories Film Studio. Told from the perspective of Olaudah Equiano, the origin story is one that begins with freedom, not captivity.

“This is the story through the eyes of a child, through the voice of a child that will now be shared with the world,” said Perri Irmer, President and CEO of the DuSable Museum of African AmericanHistory.

The 80-minute film is the second in a series from the award-winning producers of stories documenting the lives of young people at key moments in history. Equiano Stories is a modern take on the history of the slave trade. The vertical film uses first-person social media-like posts to tell the story.

Viewers first meet the 11-year-old boy and his family in their West African village. He tells his story of being kidnapped, put on a slave ship and sold into slavery by posting around 500 individual stories over the course of the film’s 48 hours.

“The film was shot in a vertical format and intended for Instagram as it will appeal to younger audiences,” Stelo Studios spokesperson Grant Deady said.

Along with each story, there will also be short educational lessons for viewers. An exhibit celebrating the customs and way of life of the village of Equiano opened on Wednesday to support the film’s debut. Replicas of huts as well as artifacts from the museum’s permanent collection were displayed.

“People can feel different emotions, whatever you want to feel,” said Brenda Liboy, the exhibit’s creative director. Different emotions, happiness, sadness, whatever. It’s about emotions. “

Exhibition director Martin Giesse said privacy is the goal.

“We thought it was important for the visitor to have an intimate relationship with the artifact,” Giesse said. “That’s why there are no barriers.”

Known for most of his life as Gustavus Vassa, Equiano purchased his freedom when he was around 20 years old. He moved to London and later became an abolitionist and bestselling author after publishing his memoirs in 1789. His story became so popular that it resulted in the abolition of slavery in England, which in the end he era was the country most active in the slave trade.

“What we need to know is strength, beauty and confidence,” Irmer said. “This is the story. This is the narrative.”

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