Bryn Mawr Now

A Prince Among Slaves

Prince Among Slaves: Screening, Discussion of the History of an Enslaved African Muslim in America

Next Wednesday, Feb. 6, the Bi-College Muslim Students Association will observe Black History Month with a look into a little-known part of American and African history. The MSA, with support from a number of campus organizations, will host a screening of A Prince Among Slaves, an award-winning documentary about Abdul Rahman Ibrahima Sori, an African Muslim prince who was captured in 1788 and spent 40 years in slavery in the American South before finally regaining his freedom. Howard University Professor of African Studies Sulayman Nyang will kick off a discussion of the film, and entertainment will be provided by Progress Theater, a mulitdisciplinary performance troupe.

The screeening, discussion, and performance will take place in Thomas Great Hall; doors open at 6:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Prince Among Slaves, which won the Best Documentary Award at the 2007 Black Film Festival, will be aired on PBS stations across the nation on Monday night. Narrated by actor and hip-hop artist Mos Def, the film is based on Terry Alford's biography of Abdul Rahman. It uses dramatic re-enactments, contemporary artworks, archival letters and diaries, and on-camera interviews with distinguished scholars and experts to tell Rahman's story.

Sulayman Nyang, the evening's keynote speaker, was a key consultant in the production of Prince Among Slaves. He has written extensively on Islamic, African and Middle Eastern affairs and is one of the foremost scholars in the field of Islam in America. He also serves as co-director of Muslims in the American Public Square, a research project funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Progress Theater has performed throughout the country. The multidisciplinary emsemble fuses "theater, dance, blues, storytelling, spirituals, R&B, poetry, and hip-hop to explore the social concerns and insights of today's young adult generation."

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Posted 1/31/2008 by Claudia Ginanni