Ayuba Suleiman Diallo

Background

Ayuba Suleiman also known as Job Ben Solomon was from a family of religious scholars in Senegal. He was one of the rare slaves who was set free and returned back to his original life after a few years in slavery.

He lived between 1701 to 1773 and was himself a part of the slave trade. He was captured by some invaders and put into the appearance of slaves and sold.

Ayuba wrote a memoir and it is one of the earliest slave narrative available.

Diallo

Life in Slavery

Ayuba was purchased and sent to Maryland where he was first put on a tobacco plantation and then in charge of the cattle. He would go into the woods to pray but after he was humiliated he ran away. He was re-captured and was imprisoned in a court house where a lawyer, Thomas Bluett, found him and was impressed by his ability to write Arabic.

Thomas allowed him to write a letter to his father in Africa in Arabic. The letter reached Oglethorpe who was the director of the Royal African Company. He purchased Ayuba and sent him to London in 1933. After some other mid-adventures he was able to return to Gambia and later to his home.

His portrait by William Hoare was painted in 1733. It is kept in the National Portrait Gallery in London.