Prince among Slaves, Written by Terry Alford





Prince among Slaves, Written by Terry Alford

Prince among Slaves is a compelling narrative that takes the reader through the entire life history of Abdulrahman Ibrahima Ibn Sori. It is a true story based on the experiences of having been captured by slave traders from Africa to the states. Terry Alford narrates the drama cycle in relation to the historic and pedagogic forms. This journal puts forward the experiences that Ibrahima went through as a slave. The journal is also subdivided into periodic sections that explain the occurrences at different times.

Early Life in Africa before Being Captured

I was a married Muslim Fulbe prince with a son. Although I was not first in line for succession, I had the title of a prince in Futa Jallon. Being a member of the royal blood, I was assigned to lead military troops within the region when there were local clashes. Life in Guinea ran smoothly as always. People went about their usual businesses as usual. This was until tragedy unfolded in the early 1970s when a military campaign against Non-Muslims was conducted. On that specific day, I had taken my army out for war and lost the battle. My army men and I were taken captive in ambush and sold to the Mandika slave traders. We were later taken down to river Gambia and sold to the European slave traders in exchange for a few muskets, eight twists of tobacco and some rum.

Early Life in America: Adjusting to Slavery

At only 26 years of age, I felt helpless and hopeless in a new land. The conditions at the island were brutal and filthy as we were packed below decks. After eight months of endurance, I was purchased by Mr. Foster Thomas in Mississippi. Thomas was a struggling farming who thought it wise to get a slave who would help him in his farmhouse. Despite my numerous efforts of making my royal statutes known, I was still treated unfairly. Thomas actually laughed at this statement as he ridiculed African royalty. This thus earned me the name prince in my foster country. The scenario was indeed terrible and difficult to cope.

Middle age in America

It was a difficult experience as a slave in a foreign country. The first idea that I had on arrival was to escape. I promptly pursued my desire and escaped to the Mississippi swamps. After several months, I was hit by the harsh reality of the situation. There were no friends, no resources and no security. The conditions were intolerable at the swamp that I voluntarily decided to return to my slave masters. I adopted an unimaginable life when reality forced me to draw closer to God and have faith in Him. As time passed, I became a replica worker at Thomas’s farm and utilized the skill set and knowledge I had in cotton farming to his planting fields. After harvesting, I used to take the farm produce to the markets together with my own produce from my small kitchen garden. Eventually, Thomas became a wealthy man in Mississippi through the high yields he acquired.

Becoming a Family Man

In 1974, I married Isabella, an American enslave. She was also one of Foster’s slaves and worked in the farm. We were blessed with nine children, five sons and four daughters. At this point, I was able to take care of my family through the money I got from selling my produce. I rose consecutively and eventually became the de facto supervisor. I enjoyed this advantage and utilized it to the latter.

Later in Life

Going about my usual businesses one day in the market, I bumped into Dr. John Cox who was an old acquaintance. This was a gift of fate after twenty years of enslavement. The Irish surgeon had served in an English ship long ago. It was on this trip that Dr. Cox fell ill in Timbo and had to stay ashore. My family took him in and took care for him for nine months. This made Cox feel indebted to me that he made an effort to try to help me out. He went and begged Foster if he could buy me but his request fell on dead ears. Slavery bonds were too strong for his debt to free me. Even after attempting to buy me at higher prices, Foster remained firm to his decision.

Two decades later, a chance presented itself. Having acquired forty years of enslavement, a local printer became my hero. In 1816, I wrote a letter to my relatives back in Africa informing them about my whereabouts. This captured Marschalks attention. He was a local printer based in New York and was moved by my letter. He later decided to send a copy of the letter to Reed, Washington’s representative who forwarded it to the U.S. commissioner in Morocco. A meeting between the Moroccan Sultan and the American president at that time resulted. President Adams later appealed for my freedom. To my amazement, Foster agreed to release me without any payment in return. Finally, I was released and sent back to Africa via Morocco.

After Attaining Freedom

Attaining freedom at last was the best dream I had ever achieved. However, this joy and merriment was cut off when I realized that my family would not enjoy the same privileges. Furthermore, I had been banned from going back to the United States since that was part of the deal in my release forms. I worked extra hard so that I could get enough money to cater for my family’s release. The price was seemingly higher that I could only afford to buy my wife back. Despite the restrictions I had received, I still went back to the U.S. in quest to get my family back.

I solicited contributions from well-wishers so that my family may be freed. This resulted to a meeting with the Moroccan President. I corrected Adam’s perception and confessed that I was not a Moroccan. On hearing this news, he retrieved his funding and support to help me free my family. Numerous threats from the American government and sickness forced me to return to Africa. This is because they threaten to jail me for being an illegal immigrant. Back in African, I continued to push for their freedom.

Reflections on the Tour to the United States

It was indeed a terrible experience back in the U.S. Having been a prince in my native land then turned to a slave in another was an unexpected turn of events. The situation in the foreign land forced me to submit to reality. However, this did not mean humiliation since I still displayed my leadership qualities in Mississippi. Mr. Foster attributes his success to my hard work and role as the supervisor in his farm. I am an example of the harsh conditions experienced by slaves. Slave trade is an absurd form of doing business. In my case, I would consider myself lucky for attaining my freedom at last.


Slavery should be abolished completely from the human race. Races of black origin are discriminated against through slavery. It is important to note that every person is the same regardless of their skin color. This journal reflected on my life and experience with slavery. The effects even after I as freed left a scar in my life. I believe that this journal would be preserved and passed on to later generations. Finally, it is my wish for both American and the African communities to realize my dream.


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