Spartanburg museum to host show on West African nobleman
December 3, 2012 by Mark
Next weekend, the Spartanburg Regional History Museum will be presenting a special one-man show on the story of Omar Ibn Said, in which Philadelphia re-enactor Ahmed Kenya will portray Said – a scholar and nobleman from West Africa who was captured during a battle in Africa and sold during the slave trading business around 1807.
The show is based on Omar ibn Said who wrote more than a dozen manuscripts on theology and history, including an autobiography of his life. He also wrote a letter while he was a slave in North Carolina in 1853. According to the director of the history museum, Nannie Jeffries, there are several factors that make this and the other documents unique. They were written in Arabic, which was the native tongue of Said, and he wrote in an intelligent and legible fashion at a time when most African Americans were not able to read or write. She added that not many documents of this kind exist.
When he came to the United States and became a slave, he ran away from a slave owner in Charleston who was abusive and then ended up in jail in fayetteville. The Fayetteville community was intrigued by his ability to read and write. He died in 1864 in Bladen County.
His story can be discovered in detail at the museum this Saturday, December 7.