Bilali-The Old Man of Sapelo Island Between Africa and Georgia

Part of the Sapelo Island project

Author(s): Morgan R. Crook, Jr.

Year: 2007


Bilali (also spelled Bi-la-li, Belali, Bu Allall, Bu Ali, Bui-Aii, Ben-Ali, and Ben Alley) ts the best known <md most highly regarded of the some five hur dred sta:es owned by Thomas Spalding of Sapelo Island, Georgia, dunng the runeteenth century. His influence was extrao rdinary and his legacy enduring. Bilali retains the long-held distinction of being "The Old Man" to his descendants ru1d others in the Gullai1-Geechee com­ munities of Sapelo Island. Cornelia Bailey (2000, 133) of the Hog Ham­ mock Community explains that. Bilali "became a legendary figure over the ye rs but he was real ru1d he was my great-great-great-grea t-grand­ father. E. Merton Coulter (1940, 83) noted in his biography of Thomas Spald ng, that Bilali was both the overseer and the patriareh runong Spaldmg s slaves, and also was "probably the most remarkable slave who ever lived on the Georgia coast." The purpose of this paper is to explore historical information that contributes to a better understand­ ing of Bilali's life before his arrival on the Georgia eoast.

Cite this Record

Bilali-The Old Man of Sapelo Island Between Africa and Georgia. Morgan R. Crook, Jr.. Wadabagei. 2007 ( tDAR id: 366160) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8Z899DC

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -81.312; min lat: 31.374 ; max long: -81.151; max lat: 31.564 ;

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