Page last updated at 14:02 GMT, Monday, 9 February 2009

Memorial for abolitionist Equiano

Memorial to Olaudah Equiano
Olaudah Equiano was baptised at St Margaret's Church on 9 February 1759

An African campaigner involved in the 18th Century abolitionist movement which brought an end to the slave trade is to be honoured.

Olaudah Equiano, also known by his slave name Gustavus Vassa, will be honoured with a memorial in St Margaret's Church at Westminster Abbey.

Despite his enslavement as a young man, he purchased his freedom and worked as a seaman, merchant and explorer.

He was baptised at St Margaret's Church on 9 February 1759.

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, will attend the dedication of the memorial in St Margaret's Church on Monday at 1830 BST.

In his autobiography, Equiano wrote that he was born in Eboe in what is now southern Nigeria before being kidnapped with his sister as a young boy, sold by local slave traders and shipped across the Atlantic to Barbados and then Virginia in the US.

However, he later said he was born in the Americas.

More than three million Africans were shipped across the Atlantic in the 18th Century, before Parliament passed the 1807 Abolition of the Slave Trade Act, banning the trafficking of Africans as slaves.

Britain's act to abolish slavery itself was not passed until 1833.

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