Living history: Descendants of African prince to visit Mississippi community where he was enslaved

Published 7:00 am Friday, May 5, 2023

A delegation from Guinea, including descendants of an African prince who was captured and sold into slavery, spending more than 40 years in Natchez, will visit the city from May 8 through 13.

Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson and descendants of Prince Abdul Rahman Ibrahim ibn Sori will host the visitors here.

Prince Abdul Rahman Ibrahim ibn Sori was the prince who was captured from Futa Djallon, West Africa, now known as Guinea, in 1788 and was enslaved in Natchez at Foster Fields until given his freedom in 1828.

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“We really appreciate our own Beverly Adams, a Natchezian and author and a descendent of Prince Ibrahim. If not for her and her visit to Guinea last December, this visit of Guinea officials and descendants of the Prince would not be happening,” Gibson said. “The City of Natchez is very grateful to have a part in this historic opportunity to greet our new friends. To my knowledge, this is the first ever-official visit of a group of descendants of Prince Ibrahim. It will be truly a historic time.”

Gibson encouraged others to secure a copy of Adams’ book on the Prince.

“It is a well-written, very detailed book with beautiful illustrations, which Adams created, and a real credit to Natchez,” Gibson said.

The delegation from Guinea consists of members of the community of Conakry, the villages of Timbo, Mamou and Sokotoro, as well as descendants of the Prince, religious leaders known as Imam, and heads of the military and academia.

The visit is being called the Twinning of Two Cities: Natchez and Timbo, Guinea.

The delegation from Guinea is interested in learning more about the life of the Prince while in America and seeks to trace his footsteps while he was in America, according to a press release about the event.

After leaving Natchez, the group will travel to the East Coast, including Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., where they will visit the African American Museum and the White House on May 15, which is the date in 1828 that the Prince visited President John Adams, according to the press release.  On May 8, Gibson will host a private dinner, accommodated by Deborah Cosey of Concord Quarters.

“We are delighted to have them come for a visit,” Cosey said. “We at Concord are hopeful that their visit will give them closure and help them heal. I’m sure they have some mental baggage. Hopefully, they will be touched by the dignity of the ancestors’ labor, toil and pain and that the legacy of slavery will never be forgotten.”

They will also attend the meeting of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen on May 9 and receive a mayoral proclamation.

The group will also tour Natchez and Foster Fields, where the Prince was enslaved, as well as other sights in Natchez and the surrounding area.

On May 10, the delegation will spend a full day touring, including a gathering at Jefferson College. On May 11, the New Nation of Islam of Red Lick will host the delegation, which will include a tour of Alcorn State University and a meeting with its Dean of Agriculture, a tour of sites in Red Lick and Fayette. The day will conclude with a symposium at NAPAC museum, including a book signing.

Many of the descendants of Prince Abdul Rahman and other community members will host the delegation on their last full day in Natchez, May 12, at the Natchez Civic Center from 3 to 7 p.m. for fellowship, food, and entertainment.