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Omar ibn Said Materials at Wilson Special Collections Library: Other Resources

This guide provides a gateway into research about Omar ibn Said using special collections materials held at Wilson Library Special Collections at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Omar ibn Said materials held at other repositories


  • Ambrotype of Omar ibn Said. In the Randolph Linsly Simpson African-American Collection at Yale University. Digitized.

Archival material

  • Documents and an Arabic Bible belonging to Omar ibn Said, 1811, held at Davidson College Archives & Special Collections. Digitized.
  • Letter from Omar ibn Said to Major John Owen, 1819. Held at Andover Newton Theological School, Yale University. Digitized.
    • Accompanying correspondence related to contemporary efforts at translation, also held by Yale University.
      • Scholarly analysis in Hunwick, John. "'I Wish to be Seen in our Land Called Āfrikā': Umar B. Sayyid's Appeal to be Released from Slavery (1819)." Journal of Arabic & Islamic Studies, vol. 5, 2003-2004, pp. 62-77.
  • Letter from Omar ibn Said to John Taylor, 1853. Held at the Spartanburg County Historical Association.
    • Translation and annotation by Jeffrey Einboden here.
  • Photograph and manuscripts in Arabic in the John Owen (1787-1841) Papers, PC.812, State Archives, State of North Carolina
    • "Lord's Prayer" (mismarked "23rd Psalm"), 1828?
    • List of Owen family names (mismarked "The Lord's Prayer")
  • Writings in the Eliza Owen journal, Owen and Barry Family Papers, New Hanover County Public Library. Finding Aid for the collection.

The Autobiography of Omar ibn Said

The Autobiography of Omar ibn Said was written in 1831 and published in The American Historical Review, July 1925, vol. 30, no. 4, pp. 787-795. Alexander Cotheal, treasurer of the American Ethnological Society, translated the autobiography in 1848. J.F. Jameson, editor of The American Historical Review, oversaw the retranslation for publication in 1925. The original manuscript was acquired by the Library of Congress in 2017 and is now digitized - see their Omar ibn Said collection of documents.


  1. National Humanities Center
  2. Documenting the American South

Article in the North Carolina University Magazine

Short article "Uncle Moreau" published in The North Carolina University Magazine in 1854 (v. 3, no. 7) by the Presbyterian Reverend Mathew Blackburne Grier of Wilmington:


Secondary sources

Scholarly articles

Horn, Patrick E. "Coercions, Conversions, Subversions: The Nineteenth-Century Slave Narratives of Omar ibn Said, Mahommah Gardo Baquaqua, and Nicholas Said." a/b: Auto/Biography Studies, vol. 27, no. 1, 2012, pp. 45-66.

Hunwick, John. "'I Wish to be Seen in our Land Called Āfrikā': Umar B. Sayyid's Appeal to be Released from Slavery (1819)." Journal of Arabic & Islamic Studies, vol. 5, 2003-2004, pp. 62-77.

Kahera, Akel. “God’s Dominion: Omar ibn Said’s use of Arabic Literacy as Opposition to Slavery.” The South Carolina Review, vol. 46, no. 2, 2014, pp. 126- 34.

Osman, Ghada and Camille F. Forbes. "Representing the West in the Arabic Language: The Slave Narrative of Omar Ibn Said." Journal of Islamic Studies, vol. 15, no. 3, 2004, pp. 331-343.

Parramore, Thomas C. "Muslim Slave Aristocrats in North Carolina." North Carolina Historical Review, vol. 77, no. 2, 2000, pp. 127-150.

Tamplin, William Costel. "Who Was ‛Umar ibn Sayyid? A Critical Reevaluation of the Translations and Interpretations of the Life." Journal of Arabic and Islamic Studies, vol. 16, 2016, pp.125-147.


Other resources

Biographical entries


Utilize search function to find newspaper articles about Omar ibn Said. Note that he was also called "Uncle Moro, "Moreau," and other variations.

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