Throughout the years of slavery and segregation there had always been speeches and literature from many people that helped the cause for abolition and desegregation. One of them, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African, was the first of many firsthand accounts of slavery advancing the cause for abolition. Equiano's book can be compared to other works from that time in the fact that most of their points focus on an appeal to ethos, or the ethical side, of persuasion. .
One speech that is comparable to Equiano's work is Frederick Douglass's "Independence Day Speech at Rochester", given on July 4th, 1852 in Rochester, NY. A topic that both works covered was the fact that all black people were just as capable of mastering as many skills and professions that white people could. Equiano told about times when he learned small things like fishing and skilled fighting, but also larger, more important things such as learning to read and write and working the guns on heavy battleships. Douglass gave an even more impressive list of the capabilities of blacks such as building houses, bridges, and ships, to writing, becoming lawyers, doctors, poets, teachers and everything in between. They also both showed that blacks thought white people were very different and hard to understand. Equiano was constantly in awe wherever he went in his early years of the white men's fancy buildings and technology. He was often confused and scared of white people's religious beliefs, thinking that at any moment they would probably sacrifice him to please some kind of gods. In a different sense, Douglass was outraged with white celebration of Independence Day while black people mourned it because it meant the opposite of independence for them. During the speech he stated: "This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn" (Douglass 383).