Abd al Rahman Ibrahima was a Muslim prince from West Africa who was made a slave in the United States. After spending 40 years in slavery, he was freed in 1828 by order of President John Quincy Adams and Secretary of State Henry Clay after the Sultan of Morocco requested his release. In 1807 he was recognized by an Irish ship’s surgeon as the son of an African king who had saved his life many years earlier.
“The Prince,” as he had become known to local Natchez, Mississippi residents, had been captured in war when he was 26 years old, sold to slave traders, and shipped to America. Slave though he was, Ibrahima was an educated, aristocratic man, and he was made overseer of the large cotton and tobacco plantation of his master, who refused to sell him to the doctor for any price.
At sixty-six years old, Ibrahima sailed for Africa the following year, with his wife, and died there of fever just five months after his arrival. Prince Among Slaves, the only full account of Ibrahima’s life, was pieced together from first-person accounts and historical documents gathered on three continents.