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The Omar Ibn Said Collection at the Library of Congress-An Interview with Dr. Mary-Jane Deeb

The Omar Ibn Said Collection at the Library of Congress-An Interview with Dr. Mary-Jane Deeb

The Library of Congress (LOC) recently acquired and made publicly available online a unique collection showing the only known surviving slave narrative written in Arabic in the United States.

The Omar Ibn Said Collection [1], which consists of 42 digitized documents in both English and Arabic, including a fifteen-page autobiography of Omar Ibn Said himself, sheds further light on the history of Islam in America and the enslaved Africans who were brought to America during the transatlantic slave trade.
The earliest iterations of the collection was created thanks to the efforts of Theodore Dwight Weld, a prominent abolitionist and the first secretary of the American Ethnological Society, who knew of Said and other enslaved African Muslims.

Isil Acehan  interviewed Dr. Mary-Jane Deeb, Chief of the African and Middle Eastern Division at the Library of Congress, about the Omar Ibn Said collection and its significance.

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isilacehan@turksinamerica.com

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