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VIRTUAL TALK: “The Kidnapping Club” with Jonathan Daniel Wells
July 7, 2021 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm$10.00
THE KIDNAPPING CLUB
Wall Street, Slavery, and Resistance on the Eve of the Civil War
In our recent talk with Richard Bell, the author of “Stolen,” we learned about the Reverse Underground Railroad through the story of five young, free Black boys from Philadelphia. In 1825, the unsuspecting youth fell into the clutches of the most fearsome gang of kidnappers and slavers in the United States. Now, we’re heading east to Gotham. Home of the “The New York Kidnapping Club.” Although slavery had been outlawed in Gotham by the 1830s, this powerful network of judges, lawyers and police officers circumvented anti-slavery laws and sanctioned the kidnapping of free and fugitive African Americans. The group had the tacit support of institutions from Wall Street to Tammany Hall. Why? Their wealth depended on the Southern slave and cotton trade. This true story has plenty of villains. The heroes were a small cohort of abolitionists, including Black journalist David Ruggles. They were determined to change things and organized tirelessly for the rights of Black New Yorkers, often risking their lives in the process. While The Kidnapping Club is very much about power, greed and corruption, it’s also about resistance and the strength of Black activism.
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