” for whatever they eat, I eat” Washpost


" … ibn Said soon fled and made his way to North Carolina, where he was captured around Fayetteville. He was jailed, then handed over to plantation owner and future congressman James Owen, the brother of John Owen, a future governor of North Carolina.

One old account states that authorities took notice when ibn Said scrawled “piteous petitions” in Arabic on the walls of the jail.

Ibn Said then spent the rest of his life with the Owen family in Bladen County, N.C., at their plantations on the Cape Fear River.

He soon became a celebrity.

People were struck by his dignity and bearing, Deeb said. He was the subject of newspaper articles and visits by “scholars.” Some were eager to claim that he was an Arab, whose people were “not Negroes,” according to historian Ala Alryyes, an expert on ibn Said’s life.

“Let not the humanizing influence of the Koran upon … pagan, homicidal Africa be depreciated,” one Southern diplomat wrote.

Ibn Said embraced Christianity to a degree, and reportedly read an Arabic version of the Bible his owner acquired for him.

He praised James Owen, his owner, and Owen’s bother, John, as “good men, for whatever they eat, I eat, and whatever they wear they give me to wear.”   Washpost


This doesn't seem to fit the present general narrative which envisions the antebellum South as a vast Gulag in which Black and semi-Black people were beaten daily, or at least regularly, for minor infractions of plantation discipline or … just for the fun of it.  pl


This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.