Most Arabic scholars, although they usually but not always revert to the Spanish name of Esteban, use a different name when they start writing about the man whose fame is growing in North Africa because of his Morocco connection.
Repeatedly, early Spanish chronicles mention the conquistadors finding Indian tribes where they described the men and women as "naked." But were they? Sometimes maybe, but it becomes clear that the Europeans often considered anyone not covered in clothes like themselves as naked.
A bronze bust of Esteban by the late sculptor John Sherrill Houser will be donated soon to the St. Petersburg Museum of History in Florida by author, entrepreneur, and philanthropist James E. MacDougald.
He is author of the book, The Pánfilo de Narváez Expedition of 1528: Highlights of the Expedition and Determination of the Landing Place, and his research zeroed in on St. Petersburg's Jungle Prada site on Boca Ciega Bay as the place where the first major European expedition entered today's United States in April 1528.
Does the Esteban biography disagree with history? Not really. Although it does disagree with the conventional history of him. Even though almost every account states without reservation that Zuni natives killed Esteban in 1539, the biography points out that such a death was based only on assumptions by Mexican Indians reporting to Friar Marcos who admitted they didn't see it happen.
Actually, nobody knows for sure what happened
The poet Jeffrey Yang wrote a free verse poem about Esteban, titled with his slave nickname of Estevanico, which was published in the July/August 2017 issue of Poetry Magazine. As of October. 1, 2019, it still could be found on the magazine's website. It consists of 53 verses—54 if you count the title, which is actually a part of the poem.
No painting or image of Esteban during his lifetime exists. Not even much of a description.
While Esteban certainly would have been bearded while enslaved by Indians in Texas and later traveling across the continent, and perhaps bearded even at other times, this image could be how he appeared while living in Mexico City just before going to Cíbloa.
A chapter in Esteban: The African Slave Who Explored America, explores the continuing existence of slavery in the world, whether "de facto" or, as usual, carried out by a society's criminal and/or greedy elements.
One nation where slavery is still a problem is the northwestern African country of Mauritania, a country dominated by its Arab and Berber majorities just south of the Western Sahara, controlled by Morocco.
When asked why I wrote Esteban's biography, I reply that all my books are about average people who face such daunting obstacles that they seemed destined to fail. They are the underdogs that end up winning.
As a slave to Spaniards, Esteban could not have been expected to survive, much less come to the attention of a king, in the harrowing circumstances he endured.
The biggest problem with the Wikipedia page about Esteban is that it's posted by the name of Estevanico. That was only his slave nickname, which many writers insist on still using.
Calling him Estevanico, which translates into English as "Little Stephen" or even as "Stevie," was how early Spanish slave owners demeaned and marginalized him as a slave. It was a dismissive reference, much like the fact that early Spanish chronicles often didn't refer to him by any name, but just called him "El Negro."