Portland State University, Smith Memorial Student Union room 238, 1825 SW Broadway
About the film
In 1788, the slave ship Africa set sail from West Africa, headed for the West Indies filled with a profitable but highly perishable cargo—hundreds of men, women, and children bound in chains. Six months later, one of its human cargo, a twenty-six-year-old man named Abdul Rahman, was transported and sold in Natchez, Mississippi. According to legends that developed around Abdul Rahman in antebellum America, he made the remarkable claim to the farmer who purchased him at the auction that he was an “African prince” and that his father would pay gold for his return. The offer was refused, and Abdul Rahman did not return to Africa for another forty years. During his enslavement he toiled on the Foster plantation, married, and fathered nine children. His story also made him one the most famous Africans in America for a time, attracting the attention of powerful men such as Secretary of State Henry Clay.
After forty years of slavery, Abdul Rahman finally reclaimed his freedom, but he defied his former master’s demand that the federal government return him immediately to Africa, and instead traveled throughout the northern states, speaking to large audiences in a partially successful attempt to raise enough money to buy his children’s freedom. Finally at the age of sixty-seven, and after raising funds to free two of his children, Abdul Rahman returned to Africa, only to fall ill and die just as word of his arrival reached his former home of Futa Jallon in present-day Guinea.
Related Resources ["Muslim Journeys | Item #75", November 18, 2013]
Sponsored by the Portland State University Black Studies Department and presented by the Portland State University Library and Middle East Studies Center featuring some of the resources in the Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys, a project of the National Endowment for the Humanities, conducted in cooperation with the American Library Association. Support was provided by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York. Additional support for the arts and media components was provided by the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art.
The Portland State University Library is at the heart of the Portland State community, and is committed to providing excellence and innovation in research, teaching, and learning support. Along with its diverse collection of information resources, the University Library offers special collections and archives that feature unique materials of regional and scholarly interest; produces an extensive array of user-centered information services; and delivers a strong instruction program dedicated to improving students’ academic success. Located in an iconic building in the beautiful South Park Blocks, the Portland State University Library serves the largest student body in the Oregon University System, providing collaborative study spaces and technology-enabled environments designed to enhance students’ learning experiences.
http://library.pdx.edu/ | email@example.com | 503-725-5874
The Middle East Studies Center at Portland State University promotes understanding of the people, cultures, languages and religions of the Middle East. As a National Resource Center for Middle East Studies under the U.S. Department of Education’s Title VI program, the Center serves as a resource on issues pertaining to the Middle East through activities that reach students and scholars, as well as businesses, educators, and the media. The Middle East Studies Center supports academic conferences, workshops, cultural events, lectures, and a resource library.
pdx.edu/middle-east-studies | firstname.lastname@example.org | 503-725-4074