Dr Artemus Gaye, Descendants of Prince Abdulrahman Sori to visit White House in Historic Natchez Family Reunion
By: Wremongar Joe, II
300 years ago, Natchez, Mississippi had the highest numbers of millionaires than any part of the continental USA. It also had the second largest slave market in the southern belt of the United States.
The story is told of an African Prince sold into slavery there, freed, and repatriated to Liberia where he died and was buried at the Palm Grove Cemetery.
But as the untold story of Abdulrahman finally makes its way to the global reading public, a visit has been scheduled with the White House in Washington DC to allow descendants of the Royal Family of Prince Abdulrahman of Guinea to meet with American leaders.
The meeting and visit scheduled for May 15, 2023, gives a reminder of just how it happened between Prince Abdulrahman Sori and wife who met then President John Quincy Adams in 1828, before the couple’s eventual voyage on the Harriet and subsequent arrival to the colony of Liberia.
The visit to the White House comes as Dr. Artemus Gaye, a Liberian social ethicist, and Princess Karen Chatman of Natchez Mississippi lead global efforts to unite descendants of Prince Abdulrahman for over 20 years running.
In August 2000, Dr Gaye began researching deeper into his ancestry based on stories “told by my great grandmother in Liberia during the Liberian Civil War”.
It was history of his grandparents and their interesting past dating back from the Fouta Jallon Region of Timba in Guinea, and to a new settle along the Timbo River in Rivercess County, Liberia.
Gaye found the town of Natchez in US state of Mississippi established by French colonists in 1716, as one of the oldest and most important European settlements in the lower Mississippi River Valley in the United States.
After the French lost the French and Indian War (Seven Years’ War), they ceded Natchez and near territory to Great Britain in the Treaty of Paris of 1763.
The British Crown bestowed land grants in this territory to officers who had served with distinction in the war. These officers came mostly from the colonies of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. They established plantations and brought their upper-class style of living to the area.
Beginning 1779, the area was under Spanish colonial rule.
After defeat in the American Revolutionary War, Great Britain ceded the territory to the United States under the terms of the Treaty of Paris (1783).
By 1778, the young African prince from Fouta Djallon was captured and sold to Thomas Foster Jr, at Greenwood Plantation, where he would be enslaved for 40 years until his freedom and eventual emigration to Liberia with his wife, Dr. Isabella Rahman, who would become Liberia’s oldest citizen according to the 1843 census.
Dr Gaye said it is an “incredible, this reunion and activities are happening at the backdrop of King Charles’ coronation, that is 235 years when Prince Abdul Rahman was an enslaved man in Natchez, Mississippi, a British settlement that was ceded to the Americans after the war of Independence”.
“History has a way of replaying itself” he added
As reported by the CBS 42, the story of Prince Ibrahim one of the greatest stories ever captured and documented of an enslaved Prince in the United States was introduced into American Literature by Dr. Terry Alford “The Prince Among Slaves” published in 1977 and the same-titled documentary first aired in 2008.
In 2020, Dr. Artemus Gaye published the much-admired book; ” A Tossed American Pie” which stems from over ten years of research into Prince Abdulrahman’s and his wife Isabella’s life.
Dr Gaye’s research inspects and provides an analytical deep dive into the Tran- Atlantic Slave trade, the history of pre-colonial Guinea, Prince Abdulrahman’s and Isabella’s relationship, and historical records from both the National and Mississippi Archives.
In May of 2022, Dr Gaye traveled to Timbo Guinea and met the Royal Ancestral family of Prince Abdulrahman a meeting which led to a global collaboration led with Princess Karen Chatman, and Elder El Hadji Mody Oury Barry, resulting in a second trip to Guinea.
CBS 42 reports that on December 17th, 2022, Princess Karen Chatman alongside other American, Liberian, and Moroccan, representatives visited the scared grounds of Timbo and meet with the Elders of Prince Abdulrahman’s family.
A similar trip was taken to Sierra Leone and Liberia where the decedents visited Monrovia’s Palm Grooves Cemetery where Prince Abdulrahman Sori was buried along with other family members.
This week, Dr. Gaye, Elder El Mody Oury Hadji and Guinean delegates will share the untold history at the Isabella and the Prince.
As part of planned events, Dan M. Gibson elected Mayor of Natchez; Mississippi will on May 9th welcome the Guinean delegates as well as Mayor Chokwe LuMumba of Jackson Mississippi on May 12th, 2023.
There will be a meeting of Abdulrahman’s descendants at the Natchez Convention Center, on May 12th while Friends of the Forks in the Road will also host the delegates for a walking tour of Natchez and of the former home of Thomas Foster where Prince Abdulrahman was enslaved while the day concludes with a breaking of bread luncheon.