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December 7, 2008

Abdulrahman Ibrahim Ibn Sori

Ab-dul Rahman Ibrahima Ibn Sori (a.k.a. Abdul-Rahman) was a prince from West Africa who was made a slave in the United States. In 1828, by the order of President John Quincy Adams and Secretary of State Henry Clay, he was freed after spending 40 years in slavery.

He was born in Timbo, West Africa, (in present day Guinea, Fouta Djallon). He was known as the "Prince of Slaves" or "Prince." He was a Fulbe or Fulani, (Fula) from the land of Futa Jallon. Abrahim left Futa in 1774 to study in Mali at Timbuktu. Abrahim was leader of one of his father's army divisions. After losing a battle to a warring nation he was captured and sold to slave traders in 1788 at the age of 26. He was bought by a Natchez, Mississippi cotton and tobacco farmer, where he eventually became the overseer of the plantation of Thomas Foster. In 1794 he married Isabella, another slave of Foster’s, and eventually fathered a large family -- 5 sons and 4 daughters.

In 1826, Abdul-Rahman wrote a letter to his relatives in Africa. A local newspaperman, Andrew Marschalk, who was originally from New York, sent a copy to Senator Thomas Reed in Washington, who forwarded it to the U.S. Consulate in Morocco. Since Abdul-Rahman wrote in Arabic, Marschalk and the U.S. government assumed that he was a Moor. After the Sultan of Morocco read the letter, he asked President Adams and Secretary of State Henry Clay to release Abrahim Abdul Rahman. In 1828, Thomas Foster agreed to the release of Abdul-Rahman, without payment, with the stipulation that Abdul-Rahman had to return to Africa and could not enjoy the rights of being a free man in America. Within two days, Abdul-Rahman raised $200 to buy his wife's freedom and assumed he could do the same for his children.


Anonymous said...

I remember watching this on pbs.

TOPolk said...

I should have been studying for a final, but this was definitely more interesting. Thanks for this.

Beauty Is Diverse said...

Your welcome

Fly Girl said...

There are so many stories like this that have not been documented in history books. On my post yesterday, I talk about Olaudah Equiano, who is well known because he wrote one of the first slave narratives after he bought his freedom. I just never knew he had been enslaved in Barbados.

Beauty Is Diverse said...

So many stories and Im trying to gather all of them to share with everyone, not just from America but all over the globe.

I've read about Olaudah. I'll check out your post on him.


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