Price Among Slaves: An 18th-century slave story still relevant for Malaysia


In the middle of his Malaysian tour, Michael Wolfe, executive producer at Unity Productions Foundation (UPF), writer, lecturer and long-time advocate for human rights speaks to Penang Monthly about producing the documentary, Prince Among Slaves, a onehour documentary about a West African Muslim prince who was captured and sold into slavery in 1788.

Abdul Rahman Ibrahim Sori was one of millions of Africans captured, transported across the sea to America, and sold into slavery.

Abdul’s owner, Thomas Foster, refused to entertain the idea that Abdul was indeed a prince back home in Western Africa. In 1794, Abdul married Isabella, another slave on the plantation where he worked, and had five sons and four daughters. Abdul used his knowledge of growing cotton to rise to a position of authority in the plantation. This gave him the privilege of having his own garden to grow and sell vegetables at the local market, where he happened to meet an old acquaintance, Dr John Cox, who was the first white man to reach Abdul’s hometown of Timbo after he fell sick and was abandoned by his ship. It was Abdul and his family who took care of Cox back then, and Cox wanted to return the favour by helping Abdul out of slavery in any way he could.

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