The Good Question Podcast

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What made the writing of Omar ibn Said so special? Through his autobiography, generations to come can find a glimpse of America and a truly unique perspective of holding onto religion in a time of abuse. Hit play to learn:

  • When Omar ibn Said was enslaved
  • Why the documents were initially overlooked¬†
  • How prolific Muslim writers during this time were

Carl Ernst, a professor at the University of North Carolina, shares the incredible story of the writing of Omar ibn Said, an enslaved man with a talent for writing.

After being enslaved and jailed, Omar ibn Said wrote an autobiography and many other passages in Arabic, confusing and entrancing many of those who surrounded him. However, until now, much of this writing has gone unnoticed as the people of the time struggled to read it.

Presumably, due to this struggle to understand the language, the documents were lost for 84 years, only now resurfacing and becoming available to study. Nevertheless, one of the most significant takeaways from these writings is the fascinating history of Muslim culture and Arabic in the United States. 

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