lundi 9 décembre 2013

United Kingdom/Guinea: Sancho Ignatius, the African, who disguised the traditional image of Negro wild and uncultivated!

Born and Sold on a slave ship!

  Born in 1729 on a slave ship came from Guinea on the way to the Spanish East Indies. His parents perished during the crossing. Arrived in England, he is sold at Greenwich three sisters, who treat him like a slave, without education or instruction. She nicknamed him Sancho because of his resemblance to Sancho Panza, the character of Don Quixote by Miguel Cervantes (1547-1616). Their neighbors, the Duke and Duchess of Montague having noticed his intellectual curiosity secretly provide him books and materials to learn. When in 1749, the owners are ready to sell to an American slave, he escapes and hides in Montague. After the death of the Duke and Duchess of Montague, he moved to London where he studied art and music. He composed pieces for musicians and artists and became a friend of the famous actor David Garrick. After several years of wandering, he returned to Greenwich to be at the service of the new Duke of Montague.

Sancho Panza or Sancho Ignatius, the character of Don Quixote by Micguel Cervantes!

  In 1773, he opened a small green grocery in London. He met the Duchess of Qeensbury, the artist Joseph Nollekens and the painter John Hamilton Mortimer, who admire his artistic talents. There were many correspondents in the world to whom he dispensed sound advice through his letters on slavery. The publication of his correspondence makes him famous. He married a woman of Indian origin and they had six children. He defended economic liberalism and opposed the radicalism fashionable in England. He harnessed to demonstrate to the British that Blacks had the same intellectual capacity as whites. At the time of slavery in full swing, his ideas of humanism, fraternity and moderation seem revolutionary. He died on December 14, 1780 and became the first African to be given an obituary in the British press.

The first African to be given an obituary in the British Press.

  His correspondence with the novelist Laurence Sterne (1713-1768) published two years after his death still made ​​him more famous. The British Humanist Lloyd Brown said of him "that he disguised the traditional image of negro wild and uncultivated". His son, William Leach Osborne, inherited the shop and transformed it into a printing and book-selling business. He printed a 5th edition of Letters of the Late Ignatius Sancho with Memoirs of His Life by Joseph Jekyll and the frontispiece engraving by Bartolozzi in 1803 at this shop on Charles Street. His portrait painted in 1768 by British artist Thomas Gainsborough throne at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.
His biography and his work has been published in:
-Reyahn King and alii, Ignatius Sancho,
An African Man of Letters, Wappingers Falls, New York, 1997.
-CarettaVincent, Letters of the Late Ignatius Sancho, an African,
Penguin, New York, 1998.
Cfr. Dictionnaire biographique des Africains (Biographical Dictionary of African), www.NENA, Dakar, 2013. 

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