First, this eighteenth-century Muslim prince, son of a powerful West African king and a general in his father’s army, was captured and sold to English slavers. Then, after more than two decades of living as an American slave, a chance meeting in a marketplace paved the start of his long journey back to freedom and to Africa.
Abdul Rahman’s remarkable story will soon air on public television for the first time – and, as its producers hope, may also foster awareness of a positive Muslim figure outside of current political conflicts. Beyond his religion, this story also illuminates the tremendous capacity of a human being to endure, hope, struggle and prevail.
The new documentary, “Prince Among Slaves,” “tells a small sliver of the African story, but one that is very important for Americans to know,” said co-executive producer Alex Kronemer with Unity Productions Foundation. “Knowing him enriches our understanding of the human spirit and offers an important lesson about what matters in life.”
Born in 1762 to the king of the Fula nation in Timbo, a city in Futa Jallon in western Africa, Abdul Rahman grew to manhood in a thriving Muslim culture, with the best in education and royal and military training. He had just earned the rank of colonel at the age of 26 when he was taken prisoner in a regional conflict, in 1788, and sold into the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
Executive producers Kronemer and Wolfe, known for their 2002 documentary, Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet (s) hope their newest project inspires viewers with the story of a man who never lost his self-respect and innate nobility despite the severities he endured.