Searching for Omar Ibn Said

A Conversation with Jennifer Berry Hawes and Gavin McIntyre

November 15, 2021
11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. EST
Location: Online Zoom Webinar

In a multi-part series for The Post and Courier, journalists Jennifer Berry Hawes and Gavin McIntyre explore the world of Omar Ibn Said (d. 1864), a Muslim scholar who was captured in Senegal and sold into slavery in South Carolina. The life of Omar Ibn Said—who was known in his time for reportedly converting to Christianity and authoring an Arabic-language autobiography—provides important insight into the historical dynamics of race, religion, and slavery in Africa and the American South. Hawes and McIntyre, with support from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, interviewed scholars and imams in Senegal and conducted archival research in the United States to learn more about the story of Omar Ibn Said from an African point of view.

This event brought together Hawes and McIntyre, who shared findings from their reporting on Omar Ibn Said. Author and literary critic Paul Elie, a senior fellow at the Berkley Center, moderated the discussion, which explored what lessons the life of Omar Ibn Said might provide for today. 

This event was part of the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs collaboration with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

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Participants