Saturday, August 27, 2016

A Freed Muslim Slave, Takes His Place at National Portrait Gallery

By David Montgomery
A portrait of Yarrow Mamout is on display at the National Portrait Gallery, on loan from the Peabody Room of the Georgetown branch of the D.C. Public Library. (Courtesy of Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, D.C. Public Library)
WASHINGTON, DC---Born in about 1736, Yarrow Mamout was abducted from Guinea in West Africa and enslaved at about the age of 16. The Beall family freed him in 1796, when he was 60. He saved his money, bought land and lived in a log house at what is now 3324 Dent Place NW — the only property in the United States “known to have been owned and occupied by a slave brought from Africa.” Yarrow’s story stands for an aspect of slavery that is not well known: As many as a third of the Africans brought in chains to these shores were Muslims. “African Muslims fought in the war of 1812, the Civil War, the American Revolution,” Carey says. “They’ve been here and been present since before this country was a country.” [link]