“4 highly educated West African Muslims,
taken from the Motherland to the United States ”
Ayuba Suleiman Diallo [around 1730]
This meme is only funny to people who don’t know who we are. Ayuba Suleiman Diallo  Fulani Senegalese, the 1st Moor to touch down and file paperwork that identified his status in which granted him freedom from slavery. Keep learning.
Phillis Wheatley (1753 – 1784)
Mother Pioneer of African-American Poetry & Literature
Having been kidnapped from West Africa and taken to the Americas at the tender age of seven, Phillis Wheatley became world renowned for being the first published African-American poet.
In the Emergence of African-American Literacy Traditions: Family and Community, Phyllis M. Belt-Beyan notes a rarely mentioned fact about Phillis Wheatley: “About two weeks after she was brought to work for the Wheatley household, Wheatley peters was writing Arabic symbols on chalk slate and on walls” Though it was illegal for slaves to learn to read and write, Wheatley’s constant writing was observed by her owners and motivated them to educate her more.
A true prodigy, Shields writes that Wheatley “learned to read and write in English and Latin within the first year or so of her coming to the American colonies.”
Additionally, the life of Wheatley exposes the islamophobic narrative that has sought to create a caricature of Islam as a religion that inherently oppresses women, denying them equitable access to education.
As it is written, “the slave child’s rapid progress in learning to read, write, and speak English was likely the result of nominal instruction in language acquisition she already obtained in an Islamic school system before being kidnapped into slavery.”
In other words, Islamic centers established in West Africa played a pivotal and integral role in enabling Phillis Wheatley to eventually become the dynamic poet, author, and pioneer of African-American literature that she became.
The early Islamic education of Wheatley enabled her greater social mobility and a plethora of educational opportunities that would have been denied to other slaves in America.
Excerpts from source:
Yarrow Mamout (c. 1736 – January 19, 1823)
Side by side w/ Moorish American Yasiin Bey.
Mamout was an enslaved Muslim at 15 years old and taken to Annapolis from Guinea in 1752. He was originally from West Africa of the Fulani people and spoke the Fula language and rudimentary English. Because he could read and write in Arabic and could also write his name in English, historians believe he came from a wealthy Muslim family.
Now what are some of the stereotypes about enslaved Africans do these facts destroy?
Umar Ibn Saiid (around the 1850s)
“The history of Enslaved African Muslims brought to America”
In 1807, a wealthy 37-year-old scholar was captured in West Africa, in what is now Senegal, and transported to the United States to be sold into slavery.
Umar Ibn Saiid, lived the remainder of his life enslaved in the American South, and his story might have been forgotten if not for the handwritten autobiography he left behind.
Written in Arabic and recently acquired by the Library of Congress, “The Life of Umar Ibn Saiid” is not only a rare handwritten personal story of an American slave, but it’s also one of the first intimate accounts of the early history of Muslims in the United States.
Rather than writing Biblical verses as their captors thought, some enslaved Muslims, such as Omar Ibn Saiid, wrote Koranic verses that condemned slavery. (Courtesy National Museum of African American History/State Archives of North Carolina).