Occasionally, former slaves became campaigners against slavery. Here are a few of the ex-slave abolitionists that William Wilberforce would have heard of:
Equiano was captured from his home in Nigeria at the age of 11 and sold into slavery. He was taken to Barbados in the West Indies and from there sold to a British naval officer in America, who renamed him 'Gustavus Vassa'.
Equiano's second owner, a Quaker merchant, taught him to read and write and introduced him to Christianity. In 1766 Equiano was able to make enough money to buy his freedom. He became a sailor and travelled to London, where he joined the abolition movement.
In 1789 he published an autobiography, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano or Gustavus Vassa, the African, about his life as a slave. It became a bestseller and helped the abolitionist cause.
Watch a video about Equiano's life story.
She was taken from the island of Antigua to Britain in 1828 by her new owners who lived in London. As slavery was no longer legal in Britain, Prince was able to leave her owners and join the Anti-Slavery Society. In 1829, Prince asked parliament to grant her freedom so that she could return to the West Indies, where at this time, slavery was still permitted.
She was asked to give an account of her life as a slave for the abolitionist movement and it was published as The History of Mary Prince in 1831.
Abolitionist - someone who campaigned to end slavery
Baptised - a ceremony welcoming someone into a religion
Engraving - picture printed from an image carved into a hard surface
Plantations - large farms or estates where labourers grow crops
Take an interactive journey through the life of William Wilberforce.