Ep 3. HISTORY of James Riley: Captivity, Survival, and Leadership
By Nate Eckman
To jump right into the action, start at 5:30. In the first HISTORY EPISODE of Resilient Us, I take a look at the resilience of Captain James Riley. Captain Riley and his crew were enslaved in Morocco in 1815 after his ship capsized off Cape Bojador, near Morocco. After him and his crew went ashore, local berbers took them as slaves, stripped them naked, and forced them to march across the desert to be sold to the highest bidding tribe. I recall the horrors of their enslavement through reading excerpts from Captain Riley’s autobiography. While this book is largely unknown at this time, it’s estimated that as many as 1/5 Americans read the work in the few years following its publication. The results of which informed an entire generation of American’s of the atrocities of slavery. Moreover, this book was heralded by Abraham Lincoln as one of the most three influential books of his life, along with the Holy Bible and Pilgrim’s Progress. Considering the influence of Captain Riley’s story, it’s not too much to suggest that his story single handedly restructured America’s relationship with slavery.