Francis Bok is an escaped Sudanese slave and modern-day abolitionist. He played an instrumental role in convincing the United States government to push for a peace agreement that stopped Sudan’s civil war (1956 – 2005) and provided for 2011 South Sudan’s referendum on independence.
On May 15, 1986 seven-year old Francis was selling eggs and peanuts near his village in South Sudan when Arab militia stormed the marketplace, slaughtering men and rounding up women and children. Strapped to horses Bok and others were taken to North Sudan and sold into slavery.
For ten years, Bok was a chattel of an Arab master – he slept with animals and endured hard labor, constant beatings, humiliation and forced Islamization. He was given an Arab name and was taunted as “abeed,” a black slave.
After two failed attempts Francis escaped and came to America as a refugee.
Bok was the first escaped slave to testify before the United States Senate. He met with George W. Bush, Madeleine Albright, Condoleezza Rice and many other American leaders, educating them about the plight of modern day slaves. He was honored by the U.S. Olympic Committee and the Boston Celtics. He spoke alongside Coretta Scott King, widow of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., at the Boston Freedom Award ceremony and headlined a panel discussion on slavery at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
Bok’s autobiography Escape from Slavery, published by St. Martin’s Press, received wide critical acclaim. He has been featured in The Boston Globe, The Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor and many other publications. He has appeared on numerous radio and TV shows including BET, Fox News and CNN.
In 2010, Francis founded the Francis Bok Foundation to raise funds to build schools and a medical clinic in his hometown of Gor Ayen. He is an Associate of the Boston-based human rights organization, The American Anti-Slavery Group, and of the Kansas-based non-profit Sudan Sunrise.
Mr. Bok is available for speaking and media engagements.
Slavery and genocide in Sudan
South Sudan – the newest African nation
Power of activism
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