Recommended Books

The Kidnapping Club: Wall Street, Slavery and Resistance on the Eve of the Civil War

Author: Johnathan Daniel Wells
The Kidnapping Club is a powerful and resonant account of the ties between the institution of enslavement and capitalism, corrupt roots of policing in America, and the unflagging strength of Black activism. Dr. Wells’ gripping narrative tells the story of the powerful men who kept the illegal slave trade alive and well in New York City long after the institution of enslavement had been outlawed in the North.

South to Freedom: Runaway Slaves to Mexico and to the road to the Civil War

Author: Alice L. Baumgartner
The Underground Railroad to the North promised salvation to many American enslaved before the Civil War. But thousands of people in the south-central United States escaped enslavement not by heading north but by crossing the southern border into Mexico, where the institution of enslavement was abolished in 1837. In South to Freedom, historian Alice L. Baumgartner tells the story of why Mexico abolished the institution of enslavement and how its increasingly radical antislavery policies fueled the sectional crisis in the United States.

Subversives: Anti-Slavery Community in Washington, DC 1828-1865

Author: Stanley Harrold
While many scholars have examined the slavery disputes in the halls of Congress, Subversives is the first history of practical abolitionism in the streets, homes, and places of business of the nation’s capital. Historian Stanley Harrold looks beyond resolutions, platforms, and debates to describe how African Americans – both free and enslaved – and whites allies engaged in a dangerous day-to-day campaign to drive the peculiar institution out of Washington, D.C., and the Chesapeake region.

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

Incidents In the Life of a Slave Girl

Author: Harriet Jacobs

The true story of an individual’s struggle for self-identity, self-preservation, and freedom, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girlremains among the few extant slave narratives written by a woman. This autobiographical account chronicles the remarkable odyssey of Harriet Jacobs (1813–1897) whose dauntless spirit and faith carried her from a life of servitude and degradation in North Carolina to liberty and reunion with her children in the North.

The Color of Law

The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America

Author: Richard Rothstein

In this groundbreaking history of the modern American metropolis, Richard Rothstein, a leading authority on housing policy, explodes the myth that America’s cities came to be racially divided through de facto segregation—that is, through individual prejudices, income differences, or the actions of private institutions like banks and real estate agencies. Rather, The Color of Law incontrovertibly makes clear that it was de juresegregation—the laws and policy decisions passed by local, state, and federal governments—that actually promoted the discriminatory patterns that continue to this day.

Slavery by Another Name

Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II

Author: Douglas A Blackmon 

Based on a vast record of original documents and personal narratives, Slavery by Another Name unearths the lost stories of slaves and their descendants who journeyed into freedom after the Emancipation Proclamation and then back into the shadow of involuntary servitude. It also reveals the stories of those who fought unsuccessfully against the re-emergence of human labor trafficking, the modern companies that profited most from neoslavery, and the system’s final demise in the 1940s, partly due to fears of enemy propaganda about American racial abuse at the beginning of World War II.

Bound for Canaan

Bound for Canaan: The Epic Story of the Underground Railroad, America’s First Civil Rights Movement

Author: Fergus Bordewich

Bound for Canaan tells the stories of men and women like David Ruggles, who invented the black underground in New York City; bold Quakers like Isaac Hopper and Levi Coffin, who risked their lives to build the Underground Railroad; and the inimitable Harriet Tubman. Interweaving thrilling personal stories with the politics of slavery and abolition, Bound for Canaan shows how the Underground Railroad gave birth to this country’s first racially integrated, religiously inspired movement for social change.