Obama's Kenyan ancestors sold slaves

by CynthiaYockey on July 13, 2009

Slaves captured in East Africa along the Ruvuma River in 1866.

Slaves captured in East Africa along the Ruvuma River in 1866.

I didn’t watch the coverage yesterday of Obama’s visit to Ghana and his speech at Cape Coast Castle there, which served as holding quarters and a departure point from West Africa for slave traders. I’m thinking Obama couldn’t resist fanning the flames of African-American resentment and racism during his trip to Africa. Plus, maybe he wanted to pump up some of the rapidly dwindling supplies of white guilt. Or see if he could reinstate the race card system that expired at noon on January 20, 2009, when he took the oath of office of President of the United States. His best hope to achieve any or all of these objectives was to choose a West African country and hope no one in the state-run media would think to wonder why he didn’t choose Kenya in East Africa, the land of his father and his father’s tribe, the Luo, which also was a major slave-trading center.

One reason may be that New World blacks would be descended from West Africans. However, I am suspicious that another reason is that on both his mother’s AND his father’s side of the family, Obama is descended from people who owned and/or sold black African slaves. How ironic that Obama received almost universal support from blacks who are here because their ancestors were grabbed up and sold into slavery by other black Africans, including Obama’s father’s tribe.

Not surprisingly, when this issue first came up from a story published in the Baltimore Sun on March 2, 2007, quoted here by Sweetness and Light, which only looked into Obama’s mother’s family, the media demonized Obama’s mother’s side of the family for apparently owning slaves. Frankly, I think the more important story is finding out what role Obama’s tribe and family had in grabbing up whoever was handy and selling them into slavery in the first place.

The following piece from About.com appears to have been picked up and used without attribution by FreeRepublic.com and iReport. Here is the About.com piece asserting that Obama is descended from slave traders on his father’s side:

Obama’s African Forebears Were Slave Traders

In the 18th century, Muslim slavers moved into the interior of Kenya for the purpose of exploiting blood rivalries between local tribes. Muslims encouraged warring tribes, Obama Jr’s Luo ancestors included, to capture “prisoners of war” and sell them into slavery.

Kenya tribe leaders, also exported slaves and ivory that had been exchanged by Africans from the interior for salt, cloth, beads, and metal goods. The slaves were then marched to the coast and shipped to Muslim Zanzibar (an island South of Kenya), to be traded again.

African slaves and ivory became hugely profitable and Zanzibar Muslims grew rich on the trade. Slave trading continued despite the public outrage in Europe demanding an end to all slave trade.

The British, eventually brought their forceful anti-slavery message directly to the Muslim Sultan.

After years of pressure, the Sultan finally relented and agreed to ban slavery in 1847. It was not until 1876, 11 years after the American Civil War had ended, that the sale of slaves was finally prohibited in Zanzibar.

Guess Who Bought These Slaves?

Obama’s American Forebears Were Slave Owners

Many people know that Democratic presidential candidate Obama Jr’s father was from Kenya and his mother from Kansas. But, (quoting a Mar.2, 2007 report in the Baltimore Sun), “an intriguing sliver of his [Obama Jr.] family history has received almost no attention until now: It appears that forebears of his white mother owned slaves, according to genealogical research and census records.

” . . . The records could add a new dimension to questions by some who have asked whether Obama – who was raised in East Asia and Hawaii and educated at Columbia and Harvard – is attuned to the struggles of American blacks descended from West African slaves.”

While many including Obama blame white people for slavery, they need to check the facts first!!

The Meaning Of The Post Is: Obama’s Relatives Never Were Brought Here Into Slavery, Because Obama’s Muslim Family Were The Ones Rounding Up The African Slaves!! Obama loathes white people calling them: Devils, Haunting Ghosts, Ignorant, Oppressors, etc… When It Was The Europian White Christians that Fought & Died to End Slavery, Both In Africa and America!!

As Obama says: his Grandfather, Hussein Onyango Obama is Arab. Obama’s maternal Grandmother, Akuma, was kiddnapped, raped and enslaved by Oyango until she finally escaped, like many girls he had before. So his own Grandmother in Africa was a slave to his Arabic Muslim Grandfather. This is according to Sarah Obama, Barack’s step-Grandmother and mentioned in Barack’s OWN Memoir.

So Both his African-Arabic Muslim Grandfather and his white Grandparents owned slaves.

Wonder which ones were treated better?

Funnily enough, I also came across a piece answering the question above of whether Obama’s family’s slaves were treated better by the black or white side of the family. Here is a piece quoting a history book saying that slaves were exported from East Africa — land of the modern-day Kenya and Obama’s father, Luo tribe and ancestors — to Muslim countries where they were treated so badly that they would all die within five or six years and just be replaced. In other words, the slave trade from East Africa to Islamic countries is largely an unremembered, or at least, unheralded, holocaust of black Africans. In contrast, while the conditions in the slave ships to the Caribbean and North America were terrible and deadly, and slave conditions varied greatly by owner and were governed by cruel laws, Christians who bought slaves did not treat them as a disposable resource, as the Muslims did. The evidence is the black populations of the U.S., the Caribbean and Central and South America and the absence of black populations in countries that were heavy importers of black African slaves, such as Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Here’s the post by Shirley Madany from Answering Islam (note: I am responsible for boldfacing points I think are important):

Arabs and Slave Trade

By Shirley Madany

A flair for history is a prerequisite to understanding the Muslim world and its people. Their yesterdays are closely bound up with the here and now. A good grasp of geography will be helpful as well.

Slavery in Early Islamic History

It was intriguing to note in Bernard Lewis’ book, The Arabs in History, that paper was made first in China in the year 105 B.C. In A.D. 751, the Arabs defeated a Chinese contingent east of the ‘Jaxartes’. (Jaxartes is a river that lies on the border between China and present-day Afghanistan. Persian King Cyrus was killed fighting near this river, about 500 B.C.) The Arabs found some Chinese paper makers among their prisoners. Many such skills were brought into the Islamic world in this way. The use of paper spread rapidly across the Islamic world, reaching Egypt by A.D. 800 and Spain by the year 900. From the tenth century onwards, evidence is clear of paper-making occurring in countries of the Middle East and North Africa, as well as in the European country of Spain.

The Arabs profited from the craft of the paper makers they had captured as slaves. From archaeologists and records kept in ancient times, we learn that slave trade existed for a long time in the Arab world. Back in the days of the caliphs [early Muslim leaders], having a slave for a mother was not a stigma for a Muslim man. Due to polygamy, this was quite common.

At first the caliphs maintained a kind of aristocracy among themselves, making it imperative that the mother of a caliph was from one of the Arab tribes. However, as more and more slaves adopted the religion of Islam, noble birth and tribal prestige lost their value. By the year 817, the Abbasid Caliphs and succeeding Muslim rulers often were the sons of slave women, many of whom were foreign. Such parentage ceased to be either an obstacle or a stigma.

Growth of the Slave Trade

Quite possibly, the maintenance of slavery and the social acceptance of slaves were important drawing cards for Islam as it penetrated Africa. Without a knowledge of history, many Africans may be unaware of the fact that Islamic traders carried on a steady slave trade from East African ports for many centuries. Records are available which contain the lists of goods involved in trade with the rest of the world.

Muslim merchants traveled to India, Ceylon, the East Indies, and China, over sea and land, bringing back silks, spices, aromatics, woods, tin, and many other items. Records mention ‘slave girls’ from the Byzantine Empire along with gold and silver, marble workers, and eunuchs. Surprisingly, Muslim traders went as far away as Scandinavia, and especially Sweden, where scores of Muslim coins have been found with inscriptions from the seventh and eleventh centuries. On the long lists of goods which Muslim traders imported from Scandinavia, are found ‘Slavonic slaves, sheep, and cattle’ (cited by Lewis in The Arabs in History). An early ninth century geographer, Ibn Kurradadhbeh, describes Jewish merchants from the south of France ‘who speak Arabic, Persian, Greek, Frankish, Spanish, and Slavonic. They travel from west to east and east to west, by land and sea. From the west they bring eunuchs, slave girls and boys, brocade, beaver skins, sable and other furs, and swords’.

Though some slaves attained an honored class, doing either domestic work or military service, they were exceptions. ‘Generally, slaves were employed for manual labor on a number of large scale enterprises, in mines, in the fleets, in the drainage of marshes, etc.. They were herded together in settlements, often thousands belonging to a single landowner. Slaves of this kind were mainly black, obtained more especially from East Africa by capture, purchase, or in the form of tribute from vassal states. Such were the slaves in the salt flats east of Basra, where unprecedented numbers were employed by the wealthy men of that city in draining the salt marshes in order to prepare the ground for agriculture and to extract the salt for sale. They worked in gangs from five hundred to five thousand. Their conditions were extremely bad. Their labor was hard and exacting, and they received only a bare and inadequate keep consisting, according to the Arabic sources, of flour, semolina and dates. Many knew little or no Arabic. Eventually a leader arose among them and led a great uprising which aimed, not at ending slavery, but at securing better living conditions.

A Recent Study

Another book by Bernard Lewis entitled Race and Slavery in the Middle East: An Historical Enquiry, published in 1990 by Oxford University Press, features color plate illustrations dating back to 1237 and the 1500’s with 80 pages of notes to back up its contents. These intriguing paintings were discovered in famous libraries in London, Paris, and Istanbul. They depict the variety of slaves and their livelihoods.

In his book, Lewis describes how the Muslim world reacted when cries for abolition of slavery resounded around the world in the 19th century

‘The revulsion against slavery, which gave rise to a strong abolitionist movement in England, and later in other Western countries, began to affect the Islamic lands. What was involved was not, initially, the abolition of the institution of slavery but its alleviation, and in particular, the restriction and ultimately the elimination of the slave trade. Islamic law, in contrast to the ancient and colonial systems, accords the slave a certain legal status and assigns obligations as well as rights to the slave owner. The manumission of slaves, though recommended as a meritorious act, is not required, and the institution of slavery not only is recognized but is elaborately regulated by Sharia law. Perhaps for this very reason the position of the domestic slave in Muslim society was in most respects better than in either classical antiquity or the nineteenth-century Americas. While, however, the life of the slave in Muslim society was no worse, and in some ways was better, than that of the free poor, the processes of acquisition and transportation often imposed appalling hardships. It was these which drew the main attention of European opponents of slavery, and it was to the elimination of this traffic, particularly in Africa, that their main efforts were directed. The abolition of slavery itself would hardly have been possible. From a Muslim point of view, to forbid what God permits is almost as great an offense as to permit what God forbids — and slavery was authorized and regulated by the holy law. More specifically, it formed part of the law of personal status, the central core of social usage, which remained intact and effective even when other sections of the holy law, dealing with civil, criminal, and similar matters, were tactically or even openly modified and replaced by modern codes. It was from conservative religious quarters and notably from the holy cities of Mecca and Medina that the strongest resistance to the proposed reform came. The emergence of the holy men and the holy places as the last ditch defenders of slavery against reform is only an apparent paradox. They were upholding an institution sanctified by scripture, law, and tradition and one which in their eyes was necessary to the maintenance of the social structure of Muslim life’.

Note that there were white slaves, too:

Further on, Lewis mentions how the overwhelming majority of white slaves came from the Caucasian lands. This was in the days of the Ottoman empire and it was not until 1854 that orders against the traffic in white slaves from Georgia and Circassia were issued and put into effect.

Arabia was another major center for the slave trade. The flow of slaves from Africa into Arabia and through the Gulf into Iran continued for a long time. The extension of British, French, and Italian control around the Horn of Africa (the area of Somalia and Kenya today) deprived the slave traders of their main ports of embarkation.

As far as Islam was concerned, the horrors of the abduction and transportation of slaves were the worst part. But once the slaves were settled in Islamic culture they had genuine opportunities to realize their potential. Many of them became merchants in Mecca, Jedda, and elsewhere.

A Puzzling Question

A puzzling question comes to mind, however. If this is so, why does the Arab world have no corresponding Black population as is found in the New World? Lewis provides an answer, ‘One reason is obviously the high population of eunuchs among Black males entering the Islamic lands. Another is the high death rate and low birth rate among Black slaves in North Africa and the Middle East. In about 1810, Louis Frank observed in Tunisia that most Black children died in infancy and that infinitesimally few reached the age of manhood. A British observer in Egypt, some thirty years later, found conditions even worse. He said, ‘I have heard it estimated that five or six years are sufficient to carry off a generation of slaves, at the end of which time the whole has to be replenished’.

The Abolition of Slavery

The institution of slavery regretably existed both in the old, classical Christian and Islamic civilizations. Yet it is to the credit of Christianity that the abolition movement took root in Great Britain, Western Europe, and the United States and brought an end to this buying and selling of human beings.

The way in which slavery was practiced in Islamic countries had both bright and dark sides. What is regretable now is that this practice among Muslims is seldom openly discussed — as if slavery was exclusively a Western phenomenon. This deliberate silence enables Islamic propagandists in America to represent Muslims as liberators of the people of African origin, contrary to historical fact.

Shirley Madany has assisted her husband for many years with the Arabic Broadcast of The Back to the Bible Hour.

The biggest irony to me about Obama decrying slavery is that my perception is that he is deliberately bringing down the U.S. economy with debt bombs and tax bombs, to say nothing of nationalizing entire industries. How long will it be before the U.S. is no longer a capitalist society and the fruits of its citizens’ labor belong not to us but to our government masters and we are mired in the stagnation of socialism, for all intents and purposes slaves of the state?

Update, 7/25/09: I just found this piece from American Thinker from September 2008, “Barack Obama and Slavery,” which provides very sobering historical information on the role of Islam in the history of slavery — please go read all of it:

When the story of slavery is told in America, as in the movie Roots, the sailors get off the boats and capture the Africans and make them slaves. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

When the white slaver showed up in his wooden ship, he made a business deal with a Muslim wholesaler [note by Cynthia Yockey: for example, Obama’s tribe]. Jihad was the machinery that Mohammed used, and his model worked well in Africa as slavers filled the slave pens for the same reason that Mohammed did it: profit. Whites only traded slaves with Islam for about 200 years. Islam was in the slave trade before and after selling to the West.

If you would like to learn about the Arab African slave traders that came from the same area of Africa that Obama’s father came from, read Tippu Tip and the East African Slave Trade (Leda Farrant, Northumberland Press, 1975). Tippu Tip looked African, but he was 100% Arab and Muslim. By the way, Arab is not a racial term, but a cultural/language term.

But the slave trade had another effect. Africa slowly became Islamic. Jihad worked in many ways to bring about conversion. Sometimes trade introduced Islam and a hybrid Islam/native African religion evolved. Then jihad was used to purify and remove the African culture to result in a purer Islam. But in the end, half of Africa fell to Islam.

The oddest thing is that many people have the idea that an Arab African is the same as African. When the Arab culture replaces the native African culture the culture is not African. African culture is no more Arab than Hindu culture is Arab. Sharia law is just as foreign to native African culture as it is to ours.

The magnitude of this problem is seen in Darfur, where Arab Africans are destroying Africans who are not yet Arab enough. This is a centuries-long jihad to annihilate the native African culture. This process is no different than the process by which Coptic Egypt became Arab Egypt. Islam is not a religion but a complete civilization whose stated goal is to replace all other civilizations. There has never been a historical example of a country that kept its native culture after Islam entered. So Africa is an ordinary historical example.

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  • There is a profound difference between learning from history and being imprisoned thereby. That difference is forgiveness.
    .-= smitty´s last blog ..Pat Buchanan’s Very Excellent Idea =-.

  • I read this whole thing and had to go take a nap. I reread this and it made me notice things I’d known for years without figuring out what they meant.

    Cynthia, you’re smarter than I thought you were and I thought you were pretty smart.
    .-= Peter´s last blog ..Cynthia Yockey And Other New Cyberfriends =-.

  • rosie powell

    Exactly what is this article supposed to be about? Obama is not allowed to speak up against the African slave trade, because his ancestors – both paternal and maternal – probably participated in slavery?

    Is that what you’re trying to say?


    • Rosie Powell,

      Obama is still in the family business by enslaving this country with debt, a crushing tax burden, the elimination of incentives for invention and entrepreneurship, strangling regulations, weakened defenses, skyrocketing energy prices, economic stagnation, unemployment, nationalizing industries, taxing time itself with involuntary “voluntary” service programs and stifling freedom of speech with the complicity of a corrupt press.


  • rosie powell


    I think you need to dump those charges against our previous president – George W. Bush.

    And your comments still does not answer why Obama should not have spoken against slavery, despite his family’s history.

    • Rosie Powell,

      Obama is a genius at blameshifting. Everything I mentioned comes solely from Obama and the Democratic-majority Congress. Bush did not quadruple our deficit after Obama became president — Obama urged the Democratic-majority Congress to do that and they did. And the stimulus is not what was needed to get us out of recession — it will only make our problems worse, which is what it was intended to do.

      Obama also is a sociopath, a man without a conscience who will say anything in order to get what he wants without any intention of delivering on his promises if he finds it inconvenient. Obama spoke against slavery to make himself look better — no other reason. He’ll have another position whenever it suits him. He’s had so many positions on Gitmo, you need a database to keep track, and although he loudly proclaimed he would have trials and relocate the detainees soon after that he softly revealed that no matter how the trials come out he now feels entitled to hold the detainees indefinitely. But, of course, you knew that because you didn’t stop tracking his pronouncements once he made the one you agree with.

      Obama’s policies are the policies of enslavement. He believes in slavery with all his heart as long as he is the master. He is just cunning and plausible in his methods.


  • Thank you for all your research. It answers many of my own questions through the many doors I have opened durring the course of my investigation into the politics of Mr. Obama. In my opinion, Mr. Obama is one of the most dangerous people to the free world of this century.
    .-= A. R. Eatough´s last blog ..Say What? =-.

  • Barrister Pete

    rosie powell,

    Obama is expert at using blame as a tool for grabbing power. He blames America’s past. And for that, America must be changed. Conveniently, America needs to be changed in a way that gives him and his friends unmatched power.

    This article points out the mistaken attribution of blame. If we are going to blame America for slavery, wouldn’t it make more sense to blame those actually descended from the slavers? It makes no sense to blame America generally when many families had nothing to do with it or actually fought against it. For instance, my family were peasants in Eastern Europe during slavery. How are we to blame?

    Some countries and religions were more culpable than America or Christians in the slave trade. But Obama can’t use their blame to accomplish his power-hungry goals. So he ignores it.

    Keep in mind, conservatives believe and always have believed, in liberty. No slavery. No blame for ancestral crimes. Everyone is an individual responsible for their own actions and free to use their own labor to enrich themselves and their families. But if we’re going to play the liberal blame game, let’s at least consistently and accurately place blame.

    The problem is that libs use twisted logic and solipsistic self absorption to justify all sorts of power hungry urges. So when conservatives are forced by circumstances to play on the lib field, even then, liberals can’t keep their tricks and propaganda consistent. That’s what happens when one doesn’t base personal beliefs on an overarching set of principles.

    And on Bush, his weakness was a willingness to compromise with libs on economic and fiscal issues. That’s what hurt the economy. As well as long-standing liberal policies set in play under Roosevelt, Johnson, and Carter that couldn’t be unwound without full control of all 3 branches (as libs have had several times in the last 75 years)

    And on foreign policy, Bush’s results speak for themselves: no more attacks. And to accomplish that, 2 wars that ranked among the least bloody wars in the history of the world.

    Note the lib logic on both fronts: Bush was bad for growing the debt, therefore we should increase the debt. Bush was bad for using means we dislike to achieve security, therefore we should eliminate means to achieve security.

  • Lenore

    Now learn something you will not easily forget.


    I am glad my African ancestor came here instead of an Islamic country, if they hadn’t I would not have been born, my ancestors would have been killed at birth, before birth or unable to produce at all.

    Time for Obama to apologize to all of us Americans who are descendants of slaves for what HIS ancestors of the Islamic faith did. That is of course if he and his cronies wish to continue to play the race card.

  • just86

    The Luo do not live on the coast but further inland and were not Muslim in the 18th century. Few are Muslim today. Slaves were mostly sold by the Bantu speaking Swahili of the coast and nearby islands. Most neighboring ethnic groups remained unconverted until recently.

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