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FreedomCon 2021 – The New York Kidnapping Club: Wall Street, Slavery and Resistance on the Eve of the Civil War

February 27, 2021 @ 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm


The Kidnapping Club is a powerful and resonant account of the ties between slavery 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 slavery had been outlawed in the North. The Kidnapping Club was a network of judges, lawyers, police officers and bankers who sanctioned the kidnapping of free Black men, women and children in New York City who were then sold into markets in the southern states, South America, and the Caribbean for vast sums of wealth.


Jonathan Daniel Wells, PhD, is a prize-winning historian whose most recent book, The Kidnapping Club, tells of the intersections among Wall Street, slavery, and resistance to the illicit slave trade in New York City just before the Civil War. Dr. Wells is professor of history in the Departments of Afro-American and African Studies, History, and Director, Residential College at the University of Michigan.

Book Information and Reviews can be found at:


February 27, 2021
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Event Category:


Mary Liz Stewart