Sylviane Anna Diouf

Historian of the African Diaspora

Dreams of Africa in Alabama: The Slave Ship Clotilda and the Story of the Last Africans Brought to America
Dreams of Africa in Alabama is the first book to fully document the most unique and overlooked story of the American slave trade: the exceptional saga of the young people from the Bight of Benin who, in May 1860, were deported on the last known slave ship to the United States. Eager to go back home, but unable to do so, they founded a town that still endures and is the only place in the country where most people know who their African ancestors were.

Slavery's Exiles: The Story of the American Maroons
Slavery's Exiles is the first book to uncover, describe, and analyze the American maroons' daily life, and to detail the creative ways in which these forgotten men and women managed to survive, sometimes only a stone’s throw away from the plantations.

Servants of Allah: African Muslims Enslaved in the Americas - 2013 edition
Servants of Allah presents a history of African Muslims, following them from West Africa to the Americas. Although many assume that what Muslim faith they brought with them to the Americas was quickly absorbed into the new Christian milieu, this volume demonstrates that Islam flourished during slavery on a large scale. But for all their accomplishments and contributions to the history and cultures of the African Diaspora the Muslims have been largely ignored.
This 15th anniversary edition is updated, expanded, and illustrated.

Black Power 50
Black Power 50, edited by Sylviane A. Diouf and Komozi Woodard is a fully illustrated companion to a major exhibition at the Schomburg Center (February 2017) curated by Sylviane A. Diouf. It includes original interviews with key figures from the movement, essays from today’s leading Black Power scholars, and over one hundred stunning images, offering a beautiful and compelling introduction to this pivotal movement.

Africans in India: From Slaves to Generals and Rulers
The story of the East Africans who greatly distinguished themselves in India. They wrote a story unparalleled in the rest of the world — that of enslaved Africans attaining the pinnacle of military and political authority not only in a foreign country but also on another continent. Abundantly illustrated.

Servants of Allah: African Muslims Enslaved in the Americas (1998)
For three hundred and fifty years, Muslim men, women, and children were sold in the New World. Often literate, urban, and in some cases well traveled, the West African Muslims realized incomparable feats in the countries of their enslavement. As Muslims in Christian lands, these involuntary migrants had to overcome particularly daunting obstacles to maintain and express their faith.
Through examining their history, their stories, and their legacy, this book reveals that what they wrote on the sand of the plantations is a story of strength, resilience, courage, pride and dignity.

Fighting the Slave Trade: West African Strategies
This book is a very informative study of how West African societies self-identified and asserted political, economic, and social control in the face of enslavement of their own.
African Studies Review

Offers a different, rich and challenging perspective on the Atlantic slave trade.
Progress in Development Studies

In Motion: The African-American Migration Experience
The extraordinary range of African-American migrations - from the earliest Africans who arrived to the recent movement of blacks back to the South - is the focus of a new Web site and an exhibition of recent research that could redefine African-American history, said scholars involved with the project.
The New York Times

Online Essays

Book Chapters & Articles
The West African Paradox

"God Does Not Allow Kings to Enslave Their People": Islamic Reformists and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

African Muslims in Bondage: Realities, Memories, and Legacies

Manding in the Americas

Invisible Muslims: The Sahelians in France

Sadaqa Among African Muslims Enslaved in the Americas

Books for Young Readers

Bintou's Braids
Bintou wants braids. Pretty braids just like her older sister and other women in her family. Long braids woven with gold coins and seashells. But she is too young for braids. Instead, all she ever gets are cornrows. However, when Bintou saves the lives of her two young cousins and is offered a reward of her choosing, she discovers that true beauty comes in many different forms.

Kings and Queens of Africa
Each book in this series -- West, Central, Southern and East Africa-- looks at different eras to show how the region evolved through time and the most significant rulers of the region. Some were more famous than others, and some well-known figures do not appear here. I have presented social, political, and cultural innovators who connected their kingdoms to a much larger world, or brought various groups together into one people. These rulers left important legacies.

Growing Up in Slavery
Children who grew up as slaves faced a life of extreme poverty, backbreaking labor, the constant threat of being separated from loved ones, and the reality that the future offered little hope. But by learning about the daily lives of the children of slavery, we see that in spite of all of this, they persevered and came to make lasting and important contributions to the country that had enslaved them.


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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