Today at 9 p.m., the National Black Programming Consortium will present on PBS, Prince Among Slaves, a one-hour documentary film on the inspiring story of an African prince who survived 40 years of enslavement in America before finally regaining his freed
Winner of the Best Documentary at the 2007 American Black Film Festival, this true story is told through feature-film styled reenactments directed by Andrea Kalin and Emmy Award-winner, Bill Duke, through contemporary artworks, archival letters and diaries, as well as through oncamera interviews with distinguished scholars and experts.
Artfully narrated by actor and hip hop artist Mos Def, Prince Among Slaves is based on Dr. Terry Alford’s biography of the same name. Prince Among Slaves tells the compelling true story of Abdul- Rahman, an African Muslim Prince who was captured in 1788 and sold into slavery in the American South.
He endured the horrific Middle Passage, and ended up the “property” of a poor and nearly illiterate planter named Thomas Foster from Natchez, Miss. He remained enslaved for 40 years before finally regaining his freedom under dramatic circumstances, becoming one of the most famous men of his day, and returning back to Africa with his royal status acknowledged. The film ends with a family reunion between Abdul-Rahman’s African and American descendents in Natchez, Mississippi.
“Abdul-Rahman survived the harsh ordeals of slavery through his love of family and his deep abiding faith,” says Co-Executive Producer Michael Wolfe. “The film depicts a universal story of perseverance and hope. Abdul endured unimaginable indignities and faced immeasurable odds, yet managed to survive his long fall from royalty with character and integrity intact.”
“I was immediately attracted to this story because of its powerful message,” re-enactment director and supervisory producer Bill Duke says. “Too many people continue to be enslaved by poverty, drugs, and bad decisions. But like Abdul- Rahman, they can come out of it, and regain their dignity and respect.”
The film contains insight from a distinguished and diverse group of experts such as Terry Alford, whose historical biography inspired the film; best selling journalist and popular historian, Adam Hochschild; K. Anthony Appiah, professor of philosophy at Princeton University. Also contributing to the film, the late novelist, Bebe Moore Campbell; Sylviane A. Diouf, renowned scholar and author; Michael Gomez, Professor of History at NYU; historian, David S. Dreyer; Artemus Gaye, living descendant of Abdul-Rahman; and Hamza Yusuf Hanson and Zaid Shakir, Islamic scholars at the Zaytuna Institute. (AP)
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