Bush , Madeleine Albright and Condoleezza Rice , telling them his story of slavery.
Francis now lives in the U. Martin's Press , chronicles his life, from his early youth, his years in captivity, to his work in the United States as an abolitionist. His father, Bol Buk Dol, managed several herds of cattle , sheep and goats. When Bok was captured at the age of 7 on May 15, , he could not count beyond 10 and knew very little of the outside world. Bok was captured after his mother, Adut Al Akok, had sent him to the village of Nyamlell to sell eggs and peanuts in the village market with some older siblings and neighbors.
This was Bok's first trip to the village without his mother, and it was the first time he was allowed to sell some of the family's goods at the market. Bok went to the market, where he heard adults say that they had seen smoke coming from nearby villages and had heard gunfire in the distance.
Escape from Slavery
People began fleeing the market as Francis saw horsemen with machine guns. The gunmen surrounded the market and shot the men in Nyamlell. Seven-year-old Bok was captured by Giemma, a member of the slave hunting militia, who forced him to join a caravan of slaves , stolen produce, livestock and wares that the militia had captured in their raid of the Dinka settlement. Upon arriving at Giemma's residence, Francis was beaten by his captor's children with sticks and was called abeed.
The word literally means "slave" and the stereotype is that of an inferior, demeaned, Negroid race. Bok began a ten-year period of slavery at the hands of Giemma and his son Hamid.
He was forced to tend the family's herds of livestock. According to Bok, as he grew older, Giemma and Hamid began to place more trust in his abilities as a herdsman. Care of the cattle, horses and camels was passed to Bok and he was able to spend more time alone with the animals. Previously he had been under the careful supervision of Hamid and sometimes Giemma.
In addition to having him serve as his slave, Giemma forced Francis to convert to Islam and to take the Arabic name of Abdul Rahman, meaning "servant of the compassionate one. Bok tried twice to flee from slavery at the age of The first instance happened early one morning after he had been sent out with the cattle.
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Bok blindly ran down a road for several miles before he was captured by one of Giemma's fellow militia members. Giemma's peer returned Francis to the Giemma's compound, where he was beaten with a bullwhip. Bok attempted to escape once again just two days later, when he fled in the opposite direction of his previous escape. He once again fled for several miles, this time keeping to the forest.
He stopped for water at a local stream crossing, where he was spotted by Giemma who happened to be there as well. Giemma forced Francis back to his home, this time promising to kill him.
Francis Bok waited three years, until , before he tried to escape again. During the intervening three years he tended to the herds and regained Giemma's trust. Giemma regularly praised Bok's work with the animals yet still forced him to live a life of slavery. Bok finally escaped from Giemma when he was 17 years old by walking through the forest to the nearby market town of Mutari. Bok went to the local police department to seek help, and asked the police to help him find his people.
Instead of helping him, the police made him their slave for two months. Bok asked a man with a truck to give him a ride out of Mutari. The man, a Muslim named Abdah, agreed to help him. Abdah thought that slavery was wrong and agreed to transport Bok to the town of Ed-Da'Ein in the back of his truck amongst his cargo of grain and onions. When he could not find a friend to provide passage to Khartoum, Abdah bought a bus ticket to Khartoum for Bok.
Fortunately for Francis, another stranger helped him find his way to his fellow Dinka tribespeople in Khartoum in the Jabarona settlement. Jabarona was filled with Dinka refugees who had fled the fighting in the south of Sudan and were forced to live together in sub-standard conditions.
Francis Bok - Wikipedia
Slavery in Sudan is a subject that was largely denied by the government in Khartoum and anybody that spoke of it could be arrested or even killed. He was finally released from prison after seven months. Through the help of some Dinka tribesman he was able to acquire a Sudanese passport on the black market and obtain a ticket for passage to Cairo. This church was well known among the Dinka in Khartoum as a place of refuge in Cairo.
While staying at Sacred Heart , Bok began to learn some English and made important contacts among the Dinka population of Cairo. He also began practicing his Christian faith without fear of reprisal.
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Bok applied for and received UN refugee status on September 15, , and after several months of waiting, the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service agreed to allow Francis to move to the U. A week after moving to Boston, he was invited to speak at a Baptist church in Roxbury and was interviewed by Charles A. Radin of The Boston Globe. He returned to Washington on September 28, , and became the first escaped slave to speak before the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
It was during this trip to the White House that Bok became the first former slave to meet with a U. Francis Buk is a native of southern Sudan. At the age of seven, he was captured and enslaved during an Arab militia raid on the village of Nymlal outside Aweil on May 15, Buk saw adults and children brutalized and killed all around him.
He was strapped to a donkey and taken north to Kirio. For ten years, he lived as the family slave to Giema Abdullah, forced to sleep with cattle, endure daily beatings, and eat terrible food. In December of , Buk escaped to the nearby town of Matari, where he was enslaved by local policemen for two months. But an Arab truck driver helped Buk escape and eventually to reach Khartoum, the capital.
In Khartoum, Buk was arrested by the security forces and jailed for seven months. After being released, Buk escaped to Cairo. In , the United Nations resettled him in North Dakota. Martin Luther King Jr. On September 28, , Buk became the first escaped slave to testify before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in hearings on Sudan that were broadcast live on C-Span.
Related Escape from Slavery: The True Story of My Ten Years in Captivity and My Journey to Freedom in America
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