While Adam Rothman, Georgetown University history professor and former Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Kluge Center, was at the Library, he had the opportunity to work on transcribing the Library of Congress’ Omar Ibn Said Collection, which was just released online.
Ibn Said was an educated, wealthy man living in West Africa until he was captured and transported to the U.S. as a slave. He left behind the only known extant autobiography of an enslaved person in the U.S. written in Arabic.
Writing for the Library of Congress Blog, Rothman discussed the challenges and rewards of working in the Ibn Said collection. He highlights Ibn Said’s 1863 obituary, as well as a description of China from the President of Liberia in the 19th century.
And get ready for more from Adam Rothman on Omar Ibn Said. Next week, The Kluge Center will begin a series of podcasts, hosted by Rothman, focusing on documents that shed light on the lives of African-Americans in the 19th century. The second episode will examine Ibn Said’s life and legacy in detail.