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  • Writer's picture1636 HP

Walk in the Footsteps of a Prince

The First Church of Christ in downtown Hartford, also known as Center Church, will host a visit from descendants of Prince Abdulrahman Ibrahima ibn Sori on Monday, May 13 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The delegation is composed of the Elders of Timbo from Guinea, West Africa, Dr. Artemus Gaye from Monrovia, Liberia, and Princess Karen Chatman from Natchez, Mississippi. The journey of the Elders of Timbo, Gaye, and Princess Karen across the United States, aptly named “Walk in the Footsteps of a Prince,” aims to trace the footsteps of their ancestor, Prince Abdulrahman, from the Official Royal House of Sori. The visit is organized by the U.S. Embassy in Guinea.

In 1788, Prince Abdulrahman was captured during warfare in Guinea, Africa, sold into slavery in Natchez, Mississippi, and freed forty years later. His freedom journey brought him through Hartford and to Center Church at the invitation of Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet in October 1828. The account of his visit to Hartford is recorded in the incredible story "Prince Among Slaves: The True Story of An African Prince Sold into Slavery in the American South," by Terry Alford. A film version, "Prince Among Slaves" was produced by the Unity Production Foundation in 2007.

The program will include remarks by Princess Karen, Dr. Gaye, and a proclamation by Hartford Mayor Arunan Arulampalam. The Hon. Dan Gibson, Mayor of Natchez, MS will also make a statement. Invited guests include: Dr. Ali Antar and Mrs. Fatma Antar of the Islamic Association of Greater Hartford; Jeffrey S. Bravin, Executive Director of the American School for the Deaf; Tammy Denease, Outreach Director for the CT Freedom Trail; Rev. Dr. David Lattimore of the Betsey Stockton Center for Black Church Studies, Princeton Theological Seminary; Jeff Partridge of Capital Community College / Hartford Heritage Project; and Sally Whipple, Executive Director, CT Democracy Center at the Old State House. 

The 1636 Heritage Partnership is a non-profit established to support the restoration and education efforts of Center Church. The program will focus on acknowledging the connections between Prince Sori, greater Hartford, and Natchez, MS and developing relationships with Connecticut educational, religious ,and youth-serving organizations to honor Prince Abdulrahman’s legacy.

The event is free and open to the public. Center Church is located at 675 Main Street in Hartford.  Convenient parking within 2 blocks of the church is available at LAZ parking facilities at the Gold Building and Trumbull on the Park (  Limited street parking may also be available.


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