Episode 3, Season 3 / May 4, 2023

The Camel Experiment: The Legend of Hi Jolly

Contributor Annie Rosenthal and producer Christian Adam Brown journey to Texas and Arizona, where camels, a legendary Muslim immigrant, and U.S. soldiers intersect in an unlikely celebration.

The Prologue

The Prologue

In this episode, Marfa Public Radio’s Annie Rosenthal and Points South producer Christian Adam Brown revisit the unusual history found at the sites of OA contributor Sasha von Oldershausen’s essay, “The Camel Experiment.” Travel to Texas and meet Doug Baum and his Texas Camel Corps, survey the remnants of a mid-19th century military experiment that helped pave the way for the U.S.’s westward expansion. Follow along as Christian and Annie visit Quartzsite, Arizona, to learn about Hadji Ali, a Muslim immigrant who served as a military camel driver and is now memorialized as a folk hero.

This episode was produced by Sara A. Lewis, Christian Adam Brown, and Annie Rosenthal. Thanks to Curtis Fye and Trey Pollard of Spacebomb for our series sound design and score. Additional sound design and score by Christian Adam Brown. Thanks to Doug Baum, Téa Obreht, Gary Nabhan, and Lynn Stimson for their time and insights. And a special thanks to Farooq Ahmed for his guidance.

Beyond The Prologue

Read Sasha von Oldershausen’s original essay

“The Camel Experiment” first appeared in Issue 104 of the Oxford American. Read the full story here.


Meet Doug Baum and his Texas Camel Corps