Born in about 1736, Yarrow Marmout was abducted in West Africa as a young man, brought to the American colonies on a ship, and sold into slavery in Maryland. He was also Muslim. As many as a third of Africans sold into slavery were Muslims. At 60 years of age, Yarrow finally became a free man and eventually, he acquired his own house and property in Georgetown where he was known for his cheerful disposition.
And today, Yarrow’s portrait, painted by James Alexander Simpson in 1822, can be seen on display at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. in the American Origins section along with other historical heroes such as William Henry Harrison, Oliver Hazard Perry, Winfield Scott and even Babe Ruth.
Speaking about the addition of Yarrow’s portrait, Asma Naeem, associate curator at the gallery comments, “We just wanted to kind of complicate the narrative of American history, and start to figure out different stories that haven’t necessarily been told, or have been lost. He was somebody who represented the diversity of the American fabric of the 1820s.”
Yarrow died in 1823, at “about “the age of 87.