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Black History Month - The Grave of Black Sambo – Lancaster and the Legacy of Slavery

Updated on December 1, 2011


Full sixty years the angry winter's wave

Has thundering dashed this bleak and

barren shore

Since Sambo's head laid in this lonely grave

Lies still and ne'er will hear their turmoil more.

Full many a sandbird chirps upon the sod,

And many a moonlight elfin round him trips

Full many a summer's sunbeam warms the


And many a teeming cloud upon him drips.

But still he sleeps - till the awakening sounds,

Of the Archangel's trump new life impart,

Then the Great Judge his approbation founds,

Not on man's colour but his worth of heart

James Watfon Scr. H.Bell del. 1796

Motivated by my friend Coolbreezing, here is my little contribution to Black History Month. It is a tale of the sorrow of the African slave dying unlamented, a long way from his home.

Sambo’s grave is almost unknown outside North Lancashire, but this evocative yet poignant message spans centuries of shameful history. It might not be the greatest piece of poetry, but it at least shows that somebody cared about the fate of this young man.

Before we reflect upon Sambo, it is important to explore a little local history, understanding the involvement of Lancaster in the trafficking of human cargo.

The Location of the Grave

River Lune at Sunderland Point, looking toward Glasson Dock on opposite river bank. From
River Lune at Sunderland Point, looking toward Glasson Dock on opposite river bank. From


Modern day Lancaster is a small and unassuming city in the North West of England, originally built around a Norman castle. It is the county town of Lancashire, and the reigning monarch is officially the Duke of Lancaster, ever since the Wars of the Roses in the 15th Century. Around the castle lie many opulent houses and buildings, constructed during the 18th Century, when St George’s Quay saw the tall ships disgorge bales of cotton sourced from the slave-worked plantations of the US. Hordes of stevedores loaded the empty holds with iron from the nearby Lake District, much of it fashioned into shackles and chains for the next consignment of human misery waiting on the coasts of Africa.

In the 18th Century, Lancaster was a thriving port, not as large as nearby Liverpool, but a major part of the infamous slave triangle. This three-way route consisted of British ships transporting iron, cotton and tobacco to Africa, where the merchants traded those goods for slaves. The Captains transported their human cargo to America, and reloaded with cotton, destined to fuel the huge weaving mills of Lancashire and Yorkshire. This ensured that the holds were filled for all three legs of the voyage, enriching the owners and contributing to the fortunes of Lancaster.

Before the rise of St George’s Quay as the centre of activity, the ships docked at Sunderland point, now a small hamlet at the very tip of the Lune Estuary. It is difficult to equate this small village, huddled against the frequent gales with a trading port, but it served as a stopping point for the trans-Atlantic ships. Here, they would unload or wait for high-tide and the taverns of Lancaster.

Sunderland Point. Image by Dr Greg,,_Lancashire_239-29.jpg
Sunderland Point. Image by Dr Greg,,_Lancashire_239-29.jpg

Morecambe bay

Sunderland Point Tour

Sambo's Grave Slideshow


Modern Sunderland Point is an isolated place, cut off from the mainland at high tide, and is still home to a few hardy souls. A causeway spans the notorious MorecambeBay mudflats and salt-marshes, and bringing curious and adventurous tourists to the point. Many come to watch the abundant and varied seabirds of MorecambeBay, but others make a pilgrimage to visit the grave of Black Sambo.

Sambo, or Samboo, as the gravestone indicates, is something of an enigma and little is known about his history. He was probably African, and most of the surviving folklore indicates that he was only a boy. In the 18th Century, many Ship’s Captains believed that owning a personal cabin boy was a symbol of wealth and prosperity, the sign of an English gentleman. He arrived at Sunderland Point with his owner, in 1736, where he is believed to have contracted a disease and died.

It is also entirely possible that he froze to death in the harsh Lancastrian winter, which must have been a shock to his un-acclimatised system. Whatever the reason, he was left at the point whilst the ship continued on to Lancaster, and there he died, alone and un-mourned.

An alternative version of the folklore states that he was washed up on the shore, the lone survivor of a ship-wreck, and lived for some years in the village before he died. Unfortunately, little is known about his life or the circumstances leading to his arrival in Lancashire.

Sadly, because he was black and not a Christian, he was not buried in consecrated ground. His body was interred in an unmarked grave behind the village inn, which is now an exposed promontory overlooking the sea. This same trackless sea carried him far from his home and brought him to die in a foreign land.

For over sixty years, the grave was unmarked and largely forgotten, so the story of Sambo could have ended there. Instead, a retired schoolmaster discovered the story and raised some money for a memorial. He also wrote the touching epitaph that now marks the grave. There is anecdotal evidence that the use of the term ‘Sambo’ as a racial slur arose from this grave, a sad and unwanted addition to the history.

Whilst the history books say that Sambo died of a fever, the romantic notion and local folklore states that he died of a broken heart because he had been abandoned by his master. I suspect that it may have been because he missed his home, a lifetime away from the coast of North-West England. Surveying the desolate and windswept beauty of Sunderland Point, that somehow seems to fit the inherent sorrow of the tale.


As a school-kid, I remember visiting the grave, placing flowers and saying a prayer for Sambo. Every school in the area takes groups there, and it shows that there is always something redeemable in the human spirit. Britain carries a lot of guilt for the slave trade, quite rightly, and the grave of this lonely young man reminds us of that. It should also remind us that the fight must continue, every day. Thousands of humans are still sold into slavery on a daily basis, and there should be no let up in the struggle against the slavers.  

Hopefully, this bleak and desolate storm-lashed shore can teach us all a lesson of tolerance, compassion and human dignity.


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    • Poetic Word Bird profile image

      Malik S Canty 

      5 years ago from Brooklyn, NY

      Good and informative reading that was well presented. Thank you for sharing another story that needs to be told with depths...I will share and vote up!

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 

      6 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Hello again Sufi. The title 'Duke of Lancaster' was created for John of Ghent (pronounced 'Gaunt'), youngest son of Edward III. The French princess whom he was to wed refused to marry a commoner, so his father created the title. John's eldest son Henry 'Bolingbroke' had the legitimate Yorkist king Richard II imprisoned and starved to death in Pontefract Castle. This was not the start of the conflict dubbed 'The Wars of the Roses' by Sir Walter Scott (based on Will Shakespeare's myth about the royal princes picking red and white roses in Temple Gardens [now London EC4, near the Strand]). It was at the time of Bolingbroke's grandson, the feeble-minded Henry VI that the conflict arose, the flames fanned by Henry's bloodthirsty queen Margaret, who had Richard Duke of York executed after the Battle of Wakefield. The current 'Duke' of Lancaster is Queen Elizabeth (there aren't any duchesses due to some quirk in heredity). Each reigning monarch since the time of Henry VII becomes Duke of Lancaster in turn.

      Just thought I'd straighten that one out for you.

      On the subject of 'Samboo', I remember a programme (can't remember which channel) about the slavery issue in Britain that highlighted his plight amongst others. For someone to be taken from a hot climate and 'plonked' on the Irish Sea shore in mid-winter it must have been lethal. It's a pithy little reminder of the 'differences'.

      My son-in-law, who hails from Mumbai, had to wrap up pretty warm when I took him and my two daughters for a few days in North Yorkshire at the end of last month. Picture him standing on Saltburn beach near the Ship Inn, shivering in a North Sea wind whilst his wife rushed around like a two-year-old! He's become acclimatised since moving here a few years ago (he works near my daughter at the Lord's ground), but this winter knocked him sideways.

      Nice read, Sufi. Keep on truckin'! (Funny, eh? Me being called Lancaster coming from Yorkshire and you a Lanky living in Greece).

    • Sufidreamer profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Sparti, Greece

      Thanks for that, PhoenixRisen - you have taught me something new. I had never heard of King Sambo, so your comment makes a great addition to the subject. The link about Diallo is absolutely fascinating :)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Thanks for a great article. I knew the name "Sambo" had come over time to have several references, and that its origins were African and Indian, but I didn't know there was a "Samboo" who lived (and died) in Lancaster. You might find it interesting to know that Sambo actually referred to King Sambo of Futa, in West Africa. He is a historical figure significant in the life of another African who was subsequently ("accidentally") sold into slavery, freed himself, and later lived to write about his experiences: Ayuba Suleiman Diallo. Here is a link I found on Diallo. Apparently his portrait in the National Portrait Gallery is the earliest known British painting of an African Muslim and freed slave.

      Again, thanks for your article.

    • Sufidreamer profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Sparti, Greece

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment, Alexander - that is the complexity of slavery. As individual case studies, there must have been many stories, each with its own tragedy or perhaps even some happiness.

      You nailed it with the immorality - taking away the individual rights of another is a foul act, yet it still continues in many parts of the world.

      Take care :)

    • Alexander Mark profile image

      Alexander Silvius 

      8 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      Although I'm not sure that I would want to assume that he loved his master or not, certainly the fact that he was abandoned shows that he probably lived miserably and it that it was a sad life.

      During Old Testament times, some wanted to remain servants to their masters. No doubt they were treated better than slaves normally have been treated on the whole throughout history. Also let me clarify, these servants MADE the choice to continue serving their masters as "bond servants." With that in mind, maybe Sambo really felt love for his master.

      And in any case, being sold by your village and forced into a life of servitude is of course immoral since it takes away the individual right to make your own choices about the direction of your life.

      It really is a testament to the human spirit that people come to honor Sambo. Great hub.

    • Sufidreamer profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Sparti, Greece

      Thanks for dropping by, dahoglund - it is a tale little known outside Lancashire!

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 

      9 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I remember that Sambo was sort of a symbol of the complacent slave. I didn't know of a real person.

    • Sufidreamer profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Sparti, Greece

      Hi Kerrie - Always good to meet a fellow Lancastrian. I also have a fascination with Lancaster's maritime history and try to visit the Maritime Museum whenever I am back. I have read a little about Waring and Gillow and their links to slavery - sadly, the whole city made a lot of money that way.

      Glasson Dock - I have been there many times, although the last was many years ago. Lovely place :)

    • Kerrie Lynskey profile image

      Kerrie Lynskey 

      9 years ago from London

      Very interesting. I'm also a Lancastrian and interested in Lancaster's Maritime History. Do you know about Waring and Gillow and their link to Sugar Cane plantations in Carribean? Also, have you ever heard of Glasson Dock ?

    • Sufidreamer profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Sparti, Greece

      Hey, Cathi - Really glad that you enjoyed the Hub. A little research, but a lot flowed from memory as a sad piece of local history from my hometown.

      Thanks for dropping by - always appreciated :)

    • Cathi Sutton profile image

      Cathi Sutton 

      9 years ago

      Very nice Hub! I not only enjoyed the poem, but also appreciate the research you did! Thank you for the new knowledge!

    • Sufidreamer profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Sparti, Greece

      Thanks, AIDY - great to see you. You always leave such uplifting comments. It is a sad tale, but there is always some hope amongst the sadness.

      Here's to a better future :)

    • profile image

      Am I dead, yet? 

      10 years ago

      Sufi, I am enjoying my visit to your part of the 'hubberverse' and I was delighted to read the story of 'Samboo'. Thank you for sharing. I wish that this was not a part of history...but, it is good to learn from it and ensure that it is not repeated.

    • Sufidreamer profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Sparti, Greece

      Thanks for dropping by and for the kind words, Tom - Glad that you found the Hub useful - luckily, we have moved a long way since then.

      Enjoy the day :)

    • Tom Cornett profile image

      Tom Cornett 

      10 years ago from Ohio

      I had heard the name,Sambo, used throughout my life but never knew where it came from. There was a restaurant named "Sambo's" in Richmond Indiana years ago.

      Wonderful I know...thanks! :)

    • Sufidreamer profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Sparti, Greece

      Hi ixwa - thanks for commenting. I did reply yesterday but it seems to have gone to the electronic graveyard in the sky!

      Sadly, it seems like there will always be a lunatic fringe - we have them in Europe, too. There are still people who think that it is acceptable to use such portrayals and I find that to be very sad. I am sure that the vast majority of Americans are not racist, but those images leave a nasty taste.

      Most people who disagree with the current incumbent have perfectly valid reasons for doing so, and it is a shame that they are dragged into the whole race thing by a very vocal and twisted minority. Mind you, if I was on a march and saw that type of imagery, I would quickly disassociate myself.

      Like you, I dream of a world where racism is a long forgotten term - maybe it is an unattainable goal, but I will strive with every fibre of my being to make it happen.

      Best wishes :)

    • ixwa profile image


      10 years ago

      A look at some of the early Hollywood movies on blacks need to be cleared and cleaned-up. The image of Sambo runs the gamut form the early nineteen hundreds to present day sitcoms. It would be interesting to expose this image of blacks which adds up to the racial stereotypes we see of Obama with wild hair, red lips lots of watermelons and chicken, with words like, 'Lawd, I sho' loves Campainnin' . This images abound in the world of images of the Tea party Mobs against Obama. This issue of an image of a people needs to be addressed and corrected in some way.

    • Sufidreamer profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Sparti, Greece

      Thanks for the kind words, thefount - they mean a lot. It is only a small piece of history, but every human has the right to a little dignity. Blessings to you and your good work, also :)

    • thefount profile image


      10 years ago from North Central Louisiana

      I greatly appreciate the part you have played in restoring the dignity of this young man. For me, this article has been very inspirational and educational.

      Thank You, And Continue To Be Blessed

    • Sufidreamer profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Sparti, Greece

      Hi Brenda - always a pleasure to see my favourite beautiful Lancashire lass!

      You really don't want to read my poetry - the muse passed me by, and my poetry is absolutely awful. I prefer to use pencils and sketch pad to express my feelings :)

      The kitten is doing great, thanks - he likes to attack my feet!

    • profile image

      \Brenda Scully 

      10 years ago

      back to our roots eh?????? thought you had starting writing poetry after all ..... great hub as always, is the kitten o.k.

    • Sufidreamer profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Sparti, Greece

      Thanks for visiting, Miranda - good to see you.

      It is amazing how much things have changed in the space of a few decades. Hopefully, it will continue :)

    • mirandalloyd profile image


      10 years ago from Alaska

      I always wondered about the story of Sambo...apparently there was a restaurant named after either the deceased, or after the slur. Understandably, when the Civil Rights Act was passed, the restaurant was closed down.

      TMG: The Native American-owned casinos were a huge part of Arizona, where I was raised, as well. Some certain people wanted to take that much-needed money away from the casinos...this would be in 2004 or 2005, I don't remember the exact year. Needless to say, a lot of people in Arizona, white or Native, were not pleased with that attempted action. They voted for a portion of the profits to be put into the area's schools instead of going into the pockets of individuals.. :)

    • Sufidreamer profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Sparti, Greece

      Thanks, Dolores - it really is a heartbreaking tale. It is great that there is a memorial, and it is a constant reminder to us all.

      Most of us are forgotten, but if we can make our moment in history a slightly better place, then all is not lost.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      10 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Such a heartfelt and touching story both the poor little stolen then abandoned child, and the sinking island. Wonderful that the teacher memorialized Sambo. Most of us are forgotten eventually.

    • Sufidreamer profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Sparti, Greece

      Thanks for your insightful views, Captain Birdseye.

      1) Sunderland was a staging point for ships docking at Lancaster. Are you seriously saying that Lancaster was not part of the slave-triangle? Read some history books and visit the Maritime Museum before displaying your ignorance. Nobody said anything about slaves actually being traded at Sunderland Point - that is a construct of your imagination.

      2) I think that you will find that the article states quite clearly that little is known about him. Your inability to read further reinforces the idea that your views are largely worthless.

    • profile image

      Captain Birdseye 

      10 years ago

      What a complete load of nonsense! The village of Sunderland was never involved in the slave trade and Samboo was not a slave! The only facts in this story are that little was known about him. The rest is pure invention!

    • Sufidreamer profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Sparti, Greece

      Thanks, maanju.

      Thanks for the comment, Iconoclast - always good to receive your input. I hope that everything is OK now, and that the accident and PC failure have no long term repercussions.

    • Iconoclast profile image


      10 years ago from Chicago, IL

      This is good. Informative, well written, and provocative. I would have picked up on it sooner, but my recent accident and PC failure led to a reduction in my activity.

    • maanju profile image


      10 years ago from India


    • Sufidreamer profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Sparti, Greece

      Fantastic - I will put my best suit on. Off to the taverna for food and Ouzo. Ouzo makes you smile :)

    • blondepoet profile image


      10 years ago from australia

      Octopus mmmmm....yahooo...I will just go put on some lippy and grab my purse I will be ready in an hour lol. Sufidreamer you blushing I would love to see that LMAO

    • Sufidreamer profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Sparti, Greece

      Thanks blondepoet - No worries! My mum is actually pretty chilled about everything - she was a child of the sixties!

      No prawns or crab, but the local taverna serves octopus - you want me to pick you some up?

      Thanks for the kind words - you are sweet, too and you are making me blush :)

    • blondepoet profile image


      10 years ago from australia

      Oh my I am sorry Sufidreamer about talking about the err you know...don't worry my lips are sealed. If you see me next time and I am sort of making a distorted muffled sound, you will know I am wearing my gag hahaha.

      If you could possibly send some prawns or crab through my PC, you are also guaranteed silence as I will be in too much ecstasy eating them to even utter a sound. You are so sweet Sufidreamer and when I have more time I look forward to reading some more of your superb stories.

    • Sufidreamer profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Sparti, Greece

      Two of Hubpages most beautiful and kindest people in one day! I am extremely flattered.

      blondepoet - Thanks for visiting and for the kind words. Coming from you, that is a compliment indeed.

      PS - Keep quiet about the naked thing - my mum has been known to read this Hub, lol ;)

      Thanks for commenting AEvans - I deeply appreciate your kind words - the UK and the US both share a common guilt for the slave trade. The best way to remember Sambo is to stop the human trafficking that still goes on.


    • AEvans profile image


      10 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

      I am with Constant on this one as I thought it was also a dirty racial slur, I am honored that you brought him to light and educated so many of us on his plight. May he rest in peace and now he is being remembered with dignity!!!:)

    • blondepoet profile image


      10 years ago from australia

      Oh Sufidreamer boy oh boy you sure know how to put a story together.Am I your fan? Don't worry I will go check............(scrolls up with her mouse wheel) yess I am yahoooo.Honestly you are a great writer as well as looking good naked on CW's page.

    • Sufidreamer profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Sparti, Greece

      Cheers CW

      Imust admit, I never knew that the grave was the source of the slur until I did the research.

      Glad that the Naked Hubbers are back!

    • Constant Walker profile image

      Constant Walker 

      10 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

      Wow, I didn't know Black Sambo was a real person - I always thought it was some kind slur, like the N word.

      PS: You made the Naked Hubbers list: Be sure to let me know if you don'y want your name there and I'll remove it.

    • Sufidreamer profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Sparti, Greece

      Thanks for the kind words, Buddy.

      It is strange how words have different meanings in different countries. A word that is harmless in one place can be an insult somewhere else.

      Stories are always good - we must learn from the past and move onwards. There is no point in apologising for the vile slave trade if we turn a blind eye to modern human trafficking - the millions of Africans that were ripped from their homes deserve better than that.

    • buddygallagher profile image

      Monie Maunay 

      10 years ago from manila, philippines

      Thanks for the education sufi, Im afraid I've never heard the term sambo in the racial slur context. In here we have a chain of small coffeeshops selling sambos, a chocolate version of the silvannas (which is very close in taste and appearance to the sans rival). Education is still the key to ending ignorance and bigotry, we need to keep these stories flowing and there's still so much to be learned.

    • Sufidreamer profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Sparti, Greece

      Thanks for visiting, Violet Sun - always a pleasure.

      Thank you for the kind words - it is true about the younger generation. They are a lot more tolerant than us, but I fear that we are leaving them with a lot of future problems.

      Sambo's grave certainly is a very sad place - I remember the young girls in floods of tears when they heard the story - the boys pretended not to cry. ;) Every family with ancestry in the area benefited from the slave trade, so shares some of the blame. If we can turn that guilt into anger that the trade continues, then that would be the best legacy we can leave for Sambo.

    • VioletSun profile image


      10 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

      Sufidreamer: My eyes got wet as I read the story of Sambo and how you placed flowers on his grave. It touches me that this young man's spirit still lives on reminding us that we humans may have grown, but there is still ignorance which leads to racism, fear and hatred. I think the younger generation of today, are so much more open minded and I love this generation, so there is hope for change, even if it's slow.

      Thumbs up!

    • Sufidreamer profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Sparti, Greece

      Hi Pam - thanks for dropping in.

      I never knew about that restaurant until I researched the Hub. It still shows that there is work to be done. We stop people using such terms, but changing attitudes is more difficult. Even now, there are still people who believe that Africans are less intelligent, repeating the old and tired propaganda that slavery was 'Doing them a Favour.'

      I cannot wait until archaeologists decide to study Africa properly, and uncover the truth - that Africans were doing some sophisticated things long before the slave-ships dropped anchor. That should blow that tired stereotype out of the water.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Amazing hub! I didn't know about this English aspect of the story. I still remember that back when I was a little girl there was a chain of pancake restaurants in the Midwestern U.S. called "Sambo's". It had a little black boy with a stack of pancakes as the logo and there was a tiger lurking about if I remember right. Hard to believe that was still around in my lifetime.

      Man, I'm old!

    • Sufidreamer profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Sparti, Greece

      Hi Jerilee - Thanks for dropping by.

      As far as I am aware, the original Story of Little Black Sambo book, in 1898, was about an Indian boy, and the term was entirely innocent. It is a derivative of Shambu, another name for Shiva. The author appeared to know little about the use of the name as a racist term against black Africans. Sambo in the book was depicted with dark skin because of his Tamil ancestry. When the book crossed to the US, the illustrations were changed to make them appear more like the African stereotype.

      This became mixed up with the common use of Sambo as a racial term, stemming from the grave of Sambo. This lead to the films and stories and was a sad misunderstanding of the author's intention. Disney and the other animation houses contributed to this shameful episode - they were certainly not innocent.

    • Sufidreamer profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Sparti, Greece

      Thanks Robie - Agree fully. The way to pay homage to the victims of slavery is to stop it happening in the modern world. In this age fo mass media, there is no excuse.

      It was good that somebody cared - a visit to the grave teaches more about racism than any book.

    • robie2 profile image

      Roberta Kyle 

      10 years ago from Central New Jersey

      Thank you for this Sufi--Somehow Sambo's epitaph is a fitting metaphor for all the evils of racism and slavery--evils which have cast a long shadow on us all down to the present day. There is no way to change the past. Perhaps our best shot at not repeating it in the future is to remember. Somehow I am happy to know that somebody cared enough to give Sambo a tombstone and an epitaph and that schoolchildren and tourists regularly visit his grave. Perhaps on some level, he knows as well. I hope so:-)

    • Jerilee Wei profile image

      Jerilee Wei 

      10 years ago from United States

      Very interesting bit of history. Couldn't help but wonder if the Little Black Sambo film and stories that Walt Disney did in 1934 was somehow connected to this? Banned cartoon, books, records, etc. now that are seldom mentioned and I'm sure Disney empire would like to forget.

    • Sufidreamer profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Sparti, Greece

      Thanks for dropping by, Frieda. Like all of the best history, it is tinged with a personal story, miles away from the usual wars, kings and empire building that we learn at school. One day, we may decide to try and learn from history instead of making the same old mistakes.

    • Sufidreamer profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Sparti, Greece

      Thanks London Girl - entirely my pleasure. A little piece of local history that has wider meaning!

    • Frieda Babbley profile image

      Frieda Babbley 

      10 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      I never heard this story before. Excellent write. Wonderful info and message. Thanks for sharing.

    • LondonGirl profile image


      10 years ago from London

      fantastic hub, Sufi - I'm really gald you shared a should-not-be-forgotten bit of history with us.

    • Sufidreamer profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Sparti, Greece

      Coolbreezing - Delighted that you could drop by. It is a shame that people are reluctant to listen to Africans talk about their history, although that is slowly changing. People still assume that Africa's history started at the time of slavery, and forget that great civilisations existed on the continent, now hidden by the jungles of the Congo or buried under the sands of the Sahara.

      I hope that we will stop seeing it as 'Black' History and instead see it as a vital part of the history of ALL humanity, in the same way that we look at the Ancient Greeks, Babylon and Islam's Golden Age. Thanks for the inspiration - I have enjoyed researching African History and hope to read much more about the subject.

      Thanks for the honest comments, TMG. I love Native American history, but that is a lesson to historians that we must not allow romantic notions and Hollywood to sway our research. Greed is a condition shared by all humanity, and I am glad that the Tribal Supreme Court did the right thing.

      It is sad that it became an issue - these people earned the right to vote and share in the prosperity. Sadly, using ancestry and bloodline as criteria for inclusion is the downside of nationalism. The love of money has a unique power to divide. :(

    • Sufidreamer profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Sparti, Greece

      Thanks for vising, EYEAM - that is probably the most telling part of the story. Even thirty years ago, that was the prevailing attitude. Probably a sign of the inability to admit the guilt by trying to make it appear that he was 'happy' to be a slave. Nobody believes this any more, and English schoolchildren are taught the truth about the slave trade.

      The best way to atone for British involvement in the slave trade is to fight against the modern traffickers and make sure that no human is denied the most basic of human rights; Freedom.

      Thanks Cris - Glad that you could spare a few moments to read the Hub. All of the stones on the grave were painted by children, out of genuine sadness and empathy for Sambo. It just goes to show - somewhere between childhood and becoming an adult, we mess things up.

      CWB - Always good to have your sage counsel. Modern slavery is an abomination - We cannot use ignorance as an excuse in the modern age of mass media and communication. Selling another human's freedom for money is one of the worst crimes possible.

    • TheMoneyGuy profile image


      10 years ago from Pyote, TX

      Greed is evil, my people for many years have shared our tribal affiliation with the freedman giving them all of the rights and benefits of being rolled native americans in the Cherokee tribe. In the 80's the Casino's came and the tribe was flush with money. Those that sought to control this money and it's division feared the vote of the freedman and played dirty pool to deny them their rights as citizens of the tribe. Only in 2006 did the tribal supreme court do the right thing and affirm their rights that had not been in question for over a hundred years when the tribe was bone poor and at the mercy of the white man.

      So, no one I mean no one is immune to the evil of greed. I say this because I often see the love and affection and the admiration people try to heap onto the Native Americans and their ways. Our ways are the human ways and we have the same human weakness, when people feel the need to glorify something that is not real it allows people to do the things that are horrible. This wasn't 1786 this case was in 2006. Thank you for the wonderful hub.


    • Coolbreezing profile image

      James Dubreze 

      10 years ago from New York, New York

      A path worth traveled is a path worth knowing. As Black Africans, we did not know whether or not we were coming to a place that would treat us less than Human. We traveled these oceans path fearfully with great skepticism, that it might not be as bad as we thought. Today we have come to know these paths as hurricane Gustav, Ike & others which have started in the Gulf of Africa where the slave trades begin.  Thanks for your contribution to black history Sufi, after all you’re not a dreamer as your name suggest. I’m glade to have inspired you because by inspiring you, I have inspired many European descents like yourself whom would rather receive a history lesson from you instead of an African like me.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Beautifully written and very moving.

      It's unimaginable that slavery still thrives to this day. All for the love of money.

      Sometimes the thought of the horrors that we humans are capable of inflicting upon each other is unbearable.

    • Cris A profile image

      Cris A 

      10 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      Great read Sufi. I love the mix of poetry and prose and not to mention the well researched content. Thanks for sharing. And i promise to never forget, too :D

    • EYEAM4ANARCHY profile image

      Kelly W. Patterson 

      10 years ago from Las Vegas, NV.

      Very intersting story. Obviously I've heard of the term "Sambo," but I hadn't ever heard of this origin for it. It's actually an interesting view into the attitudes of the past that a prevailing theory was that he died from a broken heart because he supossedly missed the guy who kidnapped him and enslaved him.


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