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Amidst the Biden-Africa Summit-195 Years Later

 Center Church Hartford CT

Prince Artemus Gaye (Left) and Heir Apparent Princess Karen Chatman (Right-side of Gaye)

7th GEN Granddaughter of Prince Abdularahman Ibrahim Sori

: Dr. Artemus W. Gaye is the author of several articles and books, most recently, Beyond Boundaries and A Tossed American Pie.”
— "Prince Sori's journey has just begone, joining Africa and America".

WASHINGTON, DC, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, December 15, 2022 / -- In 1788, Africa was indeed entering the second century of the effect of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, when an African prince, Abdul Rahman Ibrahim Ibn Sori (Prince Sori) of Fulani heritage and some of his men were captured on a battlefront at a frontier, dragged to the Gambia, and placed at the hole of the Slave ship, The Africa. A 6000 miles journey to slavery, ended in Washington, Mississippi, just five minutes, from the Spanish town of Natchez, on the Mississippi River, where he and his closest aide, Samba were sold in August of 1788 for $930 as properties to a farmer, Thomas Foster. The enslaved prince was mocked and called “Prince” for claiming a royal status, pleading that his father, the King of Fouta Djallon, Almamy Ibrahima Mowdy Sori, would pay any ransom to free both Samba and himself.

Thomas Foster, after many years, came to the realization that indeed, Prince was the son of a royalty, after his unlikely meeting with an Irish surgeon, Dr. John Coates Cox at a Sunday market day outside of Natchez. It was 25 years earlier that the prince and his family in Africa rescued this surgeon, affording him the highest honor, when the doctor was abandoned and left for dead by his crew and ship on the African shores.
This reunion of Cox and Prince Sori, triggered a series of appeals to free the African prince, who had then fathered nine children--four boys and five girls, including eight grand-children, by an extra-ordinary woman, a first generation African-American, Dr. Isabella Rahman, born and raised at Edgefield, South Carolina, the hometown of the Southern Democrats and the Confederate manifestos, including of recent, the segregationist, the late Strom Thurmond of the Democratic and Republican Parties respectively.

Isabella was indeed a special woman, who taught herself the act of medicine, called the “Doctress” for her role in saving lives and being the chief obstetrician of the region. No wonder, on Friday, February 22, 1828, when the US Government freed the prince, through an appeal by the Emir (King) of Morocco, Abd Rahman II, a name’s sake, complication arose. Yet Isabella, Prince’s wife was still enslaved, and Abdul Rahman could never see himself parting from his beloved because freedom meant nothing without her…as she wished “to follow him to the end of the earth.” Within 24 hours, a sum of $293 was raised to free Isabella, an arrangement, Foster reluctantly accepted.

On April 8, 1828, the couple departed for the North, visiting several cities--Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Hartford, New York, Washington DC, and eventually Baltimore. A meeting with Thomas Gallaudett, the Black Masons of Boston, the Tappan's brothers, one of the wealthiest Americans, and finally an arranged visit at the White House between President John Quincy Adams, a meeting of the minds.

Interestingly, on a rainy day of May 15, 1828, the prince paid a special visit to President Adams, setting the agenda for America’s new vision for Africa on slavery nearly 195 years ago, on the second floor of the White House. Except for a few edited statements in the journal of the president, what was discussed between these two men were sadly redacted by the president’s son, Franklin Adams. Here were men of similar pasts--tied to political, economic, and social statuses--the son of a king and a sitting president, whose father, like King Ibrahima Sori, was also the second leader of the USA. In his dairy, the president, writes, “Abdel Rahman is a Moor, otherwise called Prince…who has been forty years a slave in this country…” Lamentably, the president didn’t help the prince in granting his request to freeing his children, a wish of the Moroccan King, America’s oldest diplomatic partner. Prince Sori of Fouta Djallon, West Africa, therefore, of no political value to his reelection campaign bid of 1828 against Andrew Jackson who would later, resoundingly defeat him in November of 1828.

This week, December 13-15, 2022, amidst the Biden-African Summit as was done in 2014 during the Obama-Biden administration, history and symbolism are powerful and meaningful lenses to gauge the present, in light of the current global uncertainties and realignments. Could this summit bear the necessary fruits as articulated by the Conference For Africa (CFA), a conglomeration of Diaspora Africans of mainly African and Caribbean-Americans, who literally wrote the White paper for this conference? Is this a far reasonable agenda beyond Abraham Lincoln’s White House meeting of August 4, 1862, with five Black leaders on the issues of slavery, colonization and the Black race?

As I reflect on this time in history, knowing that the very Smithsonian Museum of African-American History, which has in its collection, the only drawn Portrait of Prince Abdul Rahman, a place chosen for the commemoration of the 195th Freedom Anniversary of the Couple and the Prince’s famous meeting with Quincy Adams, (postponed to February 2023), the descendants of Prince Sori are pleased that it will now serve as the opening of the Biden-African Summit, whilst, the irony that African-American descendants of the Prince and Dr. Isabella from Natchez, Mississippi, will for the first time travel and visit with the kith and kin of the former ruling family of their enslaved 4th and 7th generation grandfather at Fouta Djallon (present day Guinea), reuniting with his family and relatives. From Dec 18-28, 2022, Beverly Adams, and Princess Karen Chatman, both born and raised in Natchez, Mississippi, will be united for a historic visit and speaking at an educational symposium in Conakry and will tour Fouta Djallon, fulfilling the Year of The Return, as their ancestors (King and Prince Sori) return to Liberia, to freedom, one hundred and ninety-five years later.

The Heir Apparent H.R.H. Prince Artemus Gaye and H.R.H. Princess Karen Chatman and Prince Sori decedents thanks the United States, H. E. George Manneh Weah, H.E. Mohammad the IV, and all the African Nations for their participation in Biden-Africa Summit in DC and for including the decedents of Prince Sori as changemaker.

Khalid Al Than
The Princess Karen Foundation
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The Princess Karen Chatman Foundation of Ancestry and Global Development