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

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 asked my father all about him and my mother marrying. He said he knowed her 'about two years 'fore they married. They sorter courted by signs--my mother learned me her language and it was natural for me to speak my father's tongue. I talked for them. She was bout fifteen when she run away. I don't know if a preacher ever did marry em or not. My father said she was just so pretty he couldn't help lovin' her. He kept making signs and she made signs."

Robert Solomon, interviewed by the Works Progress Administration in Des Arc, Arkansas in the 1930s.


  1. August 7, 2009 9:00 PM EDT
    if this is a true story a beautiful one. love comes in many colors and brought about you. i visited the africatown in mobile al last month how i found this website to read your story. what a wonderful experience i was so happy to make the tour from florida.
    - Ada Johns


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
The first book on the American maroons' experience
A major book on the various components of the Black Power movement, with photos, essays and testimonies.
The fascinating story of the East Africans who distinguished themselves in India
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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