PBS Presents “Prince Among Slaves”: The True Story of An African Prince Enslaved In The American South

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On Monday, February 4, 2008 at 10:00 PM (check local listings), 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 freedom and becoming one of the most famous men of his day.

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 on-camera interviews with distinguished scholars and experts. Artfully narrated by actor and hip-hop 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 Mississippi. 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.

The documentary film is supported by a comprehensive Web site (www.princeamongslaves.tv) that includes in-depth information about the life of Abdul-Rahman and details about local film screenings happening across the United States in advance of the PBS broadcast premiere. The Web site, which launched earlier this fall highlights special behind-the-scenes interviews with narrator, Mos Def and reenactment director, Bill Duke. The site will also feature profiles on prominent individuals who played a role in the developments throughout Abdul-Rahman’s life, backgrounds on the actors and executives involved with the production, and special introductory clips about the film.

Prince Among Slaves is a production of Unity Productions Foundation (UPF) in association with Spark Media Inc. and Duke Media. Major funding for the film was provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The film was executive produced by UPF’s Michael Wolfe and Alex Kronemer. It was produced, directed and written by Andrea Kalin co-produced by Raki Jones.

About Unity Productions Foundation (Longer video)

Unity Productions Foundation (UPF) is a non-profit educational foundation working to promote peace and understanding through the media. Its mission is to create documentaries, feature films and educational products that contribute to ending the clash of civilizations. UPF’s first project, Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet, aired nationally on PBS on December 18, 2002 and was awarded a 2004 Cine Award for Best Professional Documentary in its category. Its recent Cities of Light: The Rise and Fall of Islamic Spain has won several awards, including Best Documentary at the 2007 ITVA Peer awards and Goldie Awards.

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From H. Rap Brown to Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin – The Transformation

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The Transformation of H. Rap Brown to Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin illustrates the “Transformative Power” of Islam.

The best way understand that is to listen the speech he gave as H. Rap Brown in 1968 during a Free Huey P. Newton Rally and then compare it to Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin’s interview on the Block Report (Pacifica Radio), or read his Statement in the Circuit County of Montgomery, AL, at his Extradition Hearing in April 21, 2000.

In addition, Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin’s autobiography provides an excellent synopsis of his transformation.

He writes in Die Nigger Die: A Political Autobiography;

On society and revolution:

“When you understand your obligations to God then you can understand your obligations to society. Revolution comes when human beings set out to correct decadent institutions. We must understand how this society has fallen away from righteousness and begin to develop, Islamically, the alternative institutions to those that are in a state of decline around us. But we must first enjoin right and forbid wrong to ourselves. That is the first step in turning this thing around: turn your self around.”


As Steve Biko, another revolutionary figure very aptly said during a speech in Cape Town, South Africa in 1971 – “The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.” Without first freeing “the self” – your mentality, your mind, your thoughts you will never overthrow the yoke of the oppressor.

And if you refer back to the origins of slave ownership and how to keep slaves docile, you will come across a figure by the name of Willie Lynch.

This speech was delivered by Willie Lynch on the bank of the James River in the colony of Virginia in 1712. Lynch was a British slave owner in the West Indies. He was invited to the colony of Virginia in 1712 to teach his methods to slave owners there. The term “lynching” is derived from his last name. His methodology for keeping the slave a slave was to keep his body strong and his mind weak – self enslavement.

Greetings

Gentlemen. I greet you here on the bank of the James River in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and twelve. First, I shall thank you, the gentlemen of the Colony of Virginia, for bringing me here. I am here to help you solve some of your problems with slaves. Your invitation reached me on my modest plantation in the West Indies, where I have experimented with some of the newest and still the oldest methods for control of slaves.

Ancient Rome’s would envy us if my program is implemented. As our boat sailed south on the James River, named for our illustrious King, whose version of the Bible we Cherish, I saw enough to know that your problem is not unique. While Rome used cords of wood as crosses for standing human bodies along its highways in great numbers, you are here using the tree and the rope on occasions. I caught the whiff of a dead slave hanging from a tree, a couple miles back. You are not only losing valuable stock by hangings, you are having uprisings, slaves are running away, your crops are sometimes left in the fields too long for maximum profit, You suffer occasional fires, your animals are killed. Gentlemen, you know what your problems are; I do not need to elaborate. I am not here to enumerate your problems, I am here to introduce you to a method of solving them.

In my bag here, I HAVE A FULL PROOF METHOD FOR CONTROLLING YOUR BLACK SLAVES. I guarantee every one of you that if installed correctly IT WILL CONTROL THE SLAVES FOR AT LEAST 300 HUNDREDS YEARS. My method is simple. Any member of your family or your overseer can use it. I HAVE OUTLINED A NUMBER OF DIFFERENCES AMONG THE SLAVES; AND I TAKE THESE DIFFERENCES AND MAKE THEM BIGGER. I USE FEAR, DISTRUST AND ENVY FOR CONTROL PURPOSES.

These methods have worked on my modest plantation in the West Indies and it will work throughout the South. Take this simple little list of differences and think about them. On top of my list is “AGE” but it’s there only because it starts with an “A.” The second is “COLOR” or shade, there is INTELLIGENCE, SIZE, SEX, SIZES OF PLANTATIONS, STATUS on plantations, ATTITUDE of owners, whether the slaves live in the valley, on a hill, East, West, North, South, have fine hair, course hair, or is tall or short. Now that you have a list of differences, I shall give you a outline of action, but before that, I shall assure you that DISTRUST IS STRONGER THAN TRUST AND ENVY STRONGER THAN ADULATION, RESPECT OR ADMIRATION.

The Black slaves after receiving this indoctrination shall carry on and will become self refueling and self generating for HUNDREDS of years, maybe THOUSANDS. Don’t forget you must pitch the OLD black Male vs. the YOUNG black Male, and the YOUNG black Male against the OLD black male. You must use the DARK skin slaves vs. the LIGHT skin slaves, and the LIGHT skin slaves vs. the DARK skin slaves. You must use the FEMALE vs. the MALE. And the MALE vs. the FEMALE. You must also have you white servants and over- seers distrust all Blacks. But it is NECESSARY THAT YOUR SLAVES TRUST AND DEPEND ON US. THEY MUST LOVE, RESPECT AND TRUST ONLY US.

Gentlemen, these kits are your keys to control. Use them. Have your wives and children use them, never miss an opportunity. IF USED INTENSELY FOR ONE YEAR, THE SLAVES THEMSELVES WILL REMAIN PERPETUALLY DISTRUSTFUL.

Thank you gentlemen.”

As you can see these methods go back a long ways in history, since they have proven very effective. Frederick Douglas, a key figure in the Abolitionist Movement, wrote a book entitled “Lets Make a Slave“. He takes his inspriration for this book the Willie Lynch method for man breaking and slave making.

We must all do what is in our capacities to free Imam Jamil. Keep Imam Jamil in your prayers and thoughts. What they have done to Imam Jamil can be done to anyone of us. Free your mind…

Links about Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin

Facts and Current Information on the Imam Jamil’s Case

Campaign to Free Imam Jamil

Online Petition have Imam Jamil Released on Bond

The Black Panther Party Archives

Pan African TV Audio and Video Archives