Sylviane Anna Diouf

Historian of the African Diaspora

Osman, the maroon in the swamp

My ancestor's mosque built in 1611 in Pire, Senegal

Tromelin, Indian Ocean, home of the shipwrecked Africans

Ruins of the houses

Yes indeed, plenty of slaves uster run away. Why dem woods was full o’ ’em chile

July 26, 2013

Tags: maroons

Arthur Greene of Virginia knew what he was talking about. His friend Pattin and his family had lived hidden in the woods for fifteen years until “Lee’s surrender.” Like them, from the day Africans first set foot in what became the United States until the end of the Civil War, tens of thousands of (more…)

Family Matters

February 13, 2010

Tags: Senegal, Islam, France, nature, history

Four and a half centuries ago, in 1555, Amath Diegui Fall was born in Futa Toro the Fulani/Tukulor region of northern Senegal, the cradle of Islam in Senegambia and beyond. His mother was Djegui Ba, his father Pathe Fall, a descendant of the damel (king) of Kayor. Amath, called Amar in Kayor, was an erudite , devout Muslim who became known as (more…)

Remembering July 8

July 4, 2009

Tags: Cudjo, slave trade, slavery, Michelle Obama

On July 8, 149 years ago, 110 young people disembarked from the slave ship Clotilda. It may appear paradoxical, but at a time when there seems to be too few around, I truly believe that they and other victims of the slave trade and slavery are role models for all ages. Our pain and revolt at the sheer horror of what they endured, and at the poisonous legacy of the slave trade and slavery that need to be addressed and redressed, should not overshadow their accomplishments. (more…)

African Heroes on a Desert island

May 16, 2009

Tags: slave trade, heroes, Tromelin

On July 31, 1761 the French ship L'Utile left Madagascar for Mauritius with 150 sailors on board and about 100 illegally transported African captives. A week later the ship went under. The Africans were shut down in the holds and several died, but a wave cracked open the hull and 88 escaped. Along with 120 sailors, they (more…)

The New Africans and the Snow

May 16, 2009

Tags: illegal slave trade

Dreams of Africa in Alabama relates the last episode of the illegal slave trade to the US. Here's another striking example of the introduction of young Africans, more than three decades after the interdiction.

NEW NEGROES. The New Orleans papers, twelve or twenty days ago, gave an (more…)

Love Story

May 16, 2009

Tags: slavery, African, illegal slave trade

A simple and beautiful love story from slavery times. Robert Solomon's father had been brought to the South during the illegal slave trade. Solomon spoke his father's language and since he was born in 1864 and may have lived into the 1950s this is another example of African Americans speaking an African language less than 50 years ago, just as was the case with some of the children of the Clotilda Africans.

"My father was African.... My mother was a Cherokee Indian. Her name was Alice Gamage. I was born in 1864... [M]y father stole my mother one night. He couldn't understand them and he was afraid of her people.... When I got up any size I (more…)

Cudjo Lewis at the UN

March 30, 2009

Tags: Cudjo, United Nations

On March 25, the United Nations commemorated the second International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Slave Trade. A series of events was held from the 24 to the 26 at the UN headquarters in New York. The theme was “Breaking the Silence, Beating the Drum.”

The words that defined the commemoration and (more…)

Books

The first book on the American maroons' experience
The fascinating story of the East Africans who distinguished themselves in India
In a tale worthy of a novelist, Sylviane Diouf provides a well-researched, nicely written, and moving account of the last slave ship to America, whose 110 captives arrived in Mobile in 1860 and, after the war, created their dream of Africa in Alabama. Howard Jones, author of Mutiny on the Amistad
Thorough and ambitious. William and Mary Quarterly
Readers are presented with a wide range of evidence to show how Africans fought against slavery as well as the slave trade. Canadian Journal of History
A groundbreaking look at [the] bigger picture has been unveiled in a project called "In Motion: The African-American Migration Experience." The Washington Post
Children's Books
Bintou’s hair is short and fuzzy, but she wants beautiful braids “with gold coins and seashells” like the big girls, but everyone says no. The New York Times
Young readers will enjoy this fascinating look at [some] brave leaders. Children's Literature
Destroys the stereotype of the happy, ignorant slave child. Booklist

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