[Letter : Omar ibn Said to John Owen]
Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library > [Letter : Omar ibn Said to John Owen]
- [Letter : Omar ibn Said to John Owen]
- Said, Omar ibn, 1770?-1863 or 1864.
- Published / Created
- ca. 1819
- Copyright Date
- circa 1819.
Autograph letter, in Arabic Maghrabi script, conveying a greeting to Major John Owen in Raleigh, and consisting chiefly of quotations from the Qur'an and from treatises on Arabic grammar. Quotations from the Qur'an include: Sūrat al-Najm (21-23); Sūrat al-Masad (1-2); Sūrat al-Baqarah (285-286); Sūrat Fuṣṣilat (46); Sūrat 'Abasa (34-37); Sūrat al-Infiṭār (19); Sūrat al-Nabaʼ (40); Sūrat al-Mulk (1-13). Quotations from grammatical treatises include verses from Mulḥat al-iʻrāb (Ḥarīrī) and Alfīyat Ibn Mālik (Muḥammad ibn ʻAbd Allāh). In the center of the first page, a geometric drawing encloses the Arabic text "Shaykh General Jim Owen," along with two unidentified words. In addition to the text relating to John and James Owen and the quotations, Said expresses a wish to see a place [Kaba?] in Africa.
With cover letter, in English, from John Louis Taylor, Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, dated Raleigh, North Carolina, 1819 October 10, to Francis Scott Key, George Town [Washington, DC]. Taylor describes Said's history and relationship with his owner James Owen, and requests Key's assistance in obtaining a translation of the enclosed manuscript. He also asks for Key's advice in obtaining an Arabic Bible for Said, and discusses his hope that Said could be persuaded to return to Africa with "the Colonization Society," likely the American Colonization Society, of which both Taylor and Key were members.
Accompanied by a copy of The Missionary Herald (Boston: American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, April 1869) which includes an article, in English, "Arabic-Speaking Negro Mohammedans in Africa," by George E. Post, that discusses Said's manuscript, Taylor's letter, and subsequent events and writings by Said.
Gift of Moses Stuart to Andover Theological Seminary Library, 1837. Acquired as part of the establishment of the Andover Newton Seminary at Yale Divinity School, 2017.
Notes on Taylor letter: "Letter from Judge Taylor - enclosing an Arabic Amulet" ; "Judge Taylor's letter and mss to be sent to Dr Stuart, Andover" ; "To the Library of the Theol. Seminary from M. Stuart, 22 April 1837." Moses Stuart was Professor of Biblical Studies at Andover Theological Seminary from 1810 to 1848.
Omar ibn Said, also known as Moro or Moreau, was a West African Muslim born and educated in the Futa Toro region on the Senegal River. He was sold into slavery in approximately 1807 and transported to the United States. From approximately 1810 until the end of his life, Said was owned by politician James Owen of Bladen County, North Carolina, brother of North Carolina Governor John Owen.
Title devised by cataloger.
- 1 item (2 pages) ; 26 cm
- Extent of Digitization
- Completely digitized
- Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
- Call Number
- JWJ MSS 185
- Collection Title
- Omar ibn Said letter : manuscript.
- Container / Volume
- Folder 2
Subjects, Formats, And Genres
Manuscripts, Arabic--United States--North Carolina--19th century.
- Resource Type
- Archives or Manuscripts
- Subject (Geographic)
Cape Fear River Region (N.C.)--Race relations.
United States--Race relations.
- Subject (Name)
American Colonization Society.
Andover Newton Theological Seminary Ownership.
Key, Francis Scott,--1779-1843.
Owen, James, --1784-1865.
Owen, John, --1787-1831.
Said, Omar ibn,--1770?-1863 or 1864.
Taylor, John Louis,--1769-1829.
- Subject (Topic)
African American Muslims--North Carolina.
African Americans--North Carolina--Cape Fear River Region.
Slavery--North Carolina--Cape Fear River Region.
Slaves' writings, American.
Access And Usage Rights
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- Omar ibn Said Letter. James Weldon Johnson Collection in the Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
- Orbis Record
- Object ID (OID)