Photo Credit: Library of Congress via Beinicke Rare Book Library / Yale Univ.
'Uncle Moreau' was actually Omar Ibn Said - from the Randolph Linsly Simpson African American collection at Beinicke Rare Book and Magazine Library, Yale University

Hundreds of years ago, there were Muslim slaves in the United States of America; and in the Library of Congress, there exists at least one small manuscript that has survived to prove it.

The Library of Congress has acquired and made available online the Omar Ibn Said Collection, which includes the only known surviving slave narrative written in Arabic in the United States.


According to the Library of Congress newsletter, Omar Ibn Said was a wealthy and highly educated man who was captured in West Africa and brought to the United States as a slave.

In 1831, he wrote a 15-page autobiography describing his experiences.

The Omar Ibn Said Collection consists of 42 digitized documents in both English and Arabic, according to the newsletter, including an 1831 manuscript in Arabic on “The Life of Omar Ibn Said,” also known as “Uncle Moreau.”