The Enslaved African Prince Who Never Gave Up On Liberation

illustration of ibn sori
Briona Lamback
January 19, 2023

Abdulrahman Ibrahim Ibn Sori was a 26-year-old heir in what is now Guinea, West Africa when his father sent him on a wartime mission. As he returned, captors ambushed Sori’s army.

He and 50 others were captured and sold to British enslavers, ready to shackle and ship them off to the Americas. After a hellish journey, Sori ended up in the infamous Natchez, Mississippi. 

He labored tirelessly on a plantation for nearly 40 years. Once, he escaped surviving for weeks in unfamiliar terrain, but he longed for his true home.

Everything changed when a chance encounter with a former family friend helped spread the word that Sori was a prince. A local journalist caught wind, learned that Sori spoke Arabic, and assumed he was Moroccan.

Sori played the game and convinced the journalist to help send a letter to Morocco. The US embassy sponsored Sori and his wife’s return.

Sori tried funding their children’s journeys but couldn’t raise enough. While he never made it back to Guinea, he did end up in Liberia, where he died four months later. 

Like Sori, we must remember that liberation is worth the fight, no matter how challenging or long the journey may be.

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