According to reports from the Baltimore Sun from 2007 relatives on Obama’s mothers side of the family owned and traded slaves, according to genealogical research and census records.
” . . . The records could add a new dimension to questions by some who have asked whether Obama – who was raised in East Asia and Hawaii and educated at Columbia and Harvard – is attuned to the struggles of American blacks descended from West African slaves.”
In the 18th century, Muslim slavers moved into the interior of Kenya for the purpose of exploiting blood rivalries between local tribes. Muslims encouraged warring tribes, Obama Jr’s Luo ancestors included, to capture “prisoners of war” and sell them into slavery.
Kenya tribe leaders, also exported slaves and ivory that had been exchanged by Africans from the interior for salt, cloth, beads, and metal goods. The slaves were then marched to the coast and shipped to Muslim Zanzibar (an island South of Kenya), to be traded again.
African slaves and ivory became hugely profitable and Zanzibar Muslims grew rich on the trade. Slave trading continued despite the public outrage in Europe demanding an end to all slave trade.
The British, eventually brought their forceful anti-slavery message directly to the Muslim Sultan.
After years of pressure, the Sultan finally relented and agreed to ban slavery in 1847. It was not until 1876, 11 years after the American Civil War had ended, that the sale of slaves was finally prohibited in Zanzibar.