Jefferson's Muslim Fugitives: The Lost Story of Enslaved Africans, their Arabic Letters, and an American President

ISBN : 9780190844479

Jeffrey Einboden
320 ページ
156 x 235 mm

On October 3, 1807, Thomas Jefferson was contacted by an unknown traveler urgently pleading for a private "interview" with the President, promising to disclose "a matter of momentous importance". By the next day, Jefferson held in his hands two astonishing manuscripts whose history has been lost for over two centuries. Authored by Muslims fleeing captivity in rural Kentucky, these documents delivered to the President in 1807 were penned by literate African slaves, and written entirely in Arabic.

Jefferson's Muslim Fugitives reveals the untold story of two escaped West Africans in the American heartland whose Arabic writings reached a sitting U.S. President, prompting him to intervene on their behalf. Recounting a quest for emancipation that crosses borders of race, region and religion, Jeffrey Einboden unearths Arabic manuscripts that circulated among Jefferson and his prominent peers, including a document from 1780s Georgia which Einboden identifies as the earliest surviving example of Muslim slave authorship in the newly-formed United States. Revealing Jefferson's lifelong entanglements with slavery and Islam, Jefferson's Muslim Fugitives tracks the ascent of Arabic slave writings to the highest halls of U.S. power, while questioning why such vital legacies from the American past have been entirely forgotten.



Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: Beyond Oure Expressing

Chapter 3: The Original Treaty in Arabic

Chapter 4: Written in fair Arabic Characters

Chapter 5: I take Refuge with the Lord of Daybreak

Chapter 6: His name is 'Usman''

Chapter 7: Combinations of Letters

Chapter 8: Go to Mecca

and God will Render you Victorious

Chapter 9: Wr s Unavdble

Chapter 10: Mr Jefferson is in Reality a Musselman

Chapter 11: The Prayer of the Poorest Slave of God

Chapter 12: The Runners

Chapter 13: Conquest is Close

Chapter 14: A Word of any Language

Chapter 15: One of Seven of the Arab Dialects

Chapter 16: Humanity certainly Pleads Loud

Chapter 17: Supposed to be Spys

Chapter 18: His Mountain is made a sort of Mecca

Chapter 19: A Sect by Myself

Chapter 20: Slave of the Most Merciful

Chapter 21: Their Eulogy will be Uttered in other Languages

Chapter 22: Epilogue





Jeffrey Einboden is Professor of English at Northern Illinois University and a 2017 Fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies. Einboden's most recent books include The Islamic Lineage of American Literary Culture (Oxford, 2016) and Islam and Romanticism (2014). He is the recipient of two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, including a 2011 award supporting Einboden's recovery, translation and teaching of Arabic slave writings.