Slavery in Mauritania

The American Anti-Slavery Group here presents a wide range of video material concerning slavery in Mauritania. All archival material has been painstakingly transferred and remastered in the highest definition possible from our rare and extensive tape collection over the course of a year. (Due to the age and condition of much of the material, VHS tapes in particular, picture and sound quality vary significantly.)

The most important and shareable clips on this subject from our growing YouTube channel are available below, organized by category and in chronological order.

Watch the very first of only a handful of segments TV media has done on slavery in Mauritania. Here, Sam Cotton is interviewed by the defunct New York local news station UPN 9 News about his undercover mission to document Mauritanian slavery. Cotton returned to New York in January of 1996, and this well-produced, un-dated segment aired later that month in two parts over two consecutive evenings.

Watch Sam Cotton’s opening testimony on slavery in Mauritania before a hearing of the House Foreign Relations Committee’s subcommittee for Africa. Cotton spoke at the American Anti-Slavery Group’s first of several appearances on Capitol Hill on March 13, 1996.

Watch a former chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus and House Africa Subcommittee, the late Democratic California congressman Mervyn Dymally (1926 – 2012), deny that slavery still exists in Mauritania. Dymally was a paid “legislative advocate” (lobbyist) for the Mauritanian government, bought with a yearly $120,000 salary. His testimony sought to refute that of Cotton and the American Anti-Slavery Group at the same March 13, 1996, House hearing.

On December, 17, 1996, on Tavis Smiley’s BET show BET Talk, a panel discussion on slavery featuring Cotton, abolitionist John Eibner of Christian Solidarity International, and Jane Alley, a Sudanese survivor of a slave raid on her village, turned to if black people will continue to accept their fellow blacks’ enslavement. Cotton recounted an obscure but sobering quotation from the great Arab writer Ibn Khaldūn (1332 – 1406), who says that the “Negro nations are, as a rule, submissive to slavery.” “Is Ibn Khaldūn right?” Cotton asked. “The Negro is the only one who accepts the enslavement of his people in silence?”