European Studies SMLC HKU School of Modern Languages and Cultures HKU

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22 October 2018

SMLC Seminar
The Lost Boys: Kidnapping and Slavery on America’s Reverse Underground Railroad

Richard Bell
Associate Professor of History at the University of Maryland

Date: 22 Oct 2018 (Mon)
Time: 4:30 pm – 6:00pm
Venue: Room 4.36, Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus, HKU


In the decades after the end of the American Revolution, Philadelphia, the new nation’s biggest and busiest city, became a hunting ground for crews of professional kidnappers. They made their livings by abducting free black street kids, dragging them across the country, and then selling them as slaves to cotton planters settling in new states in the Deep South. This talk explores the rise of this Reverse Underground Railroad and uses the odyssey of five boys kidnapped into slavery in 1825 to assess this grotesque network’s impact and legacy.

Richard Bell is Associate Professor of History at the University of Maryland. He is the author or co-editor of two books—one about self-destruction, the other about incarceration. His new book, a study of the Reverse Underground Railroad, will be published in 2019. He has held research fellowships at more than a dozen libraries and institutes and, in 2017, was the recipient of the National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholar Award. He is a member of the Royal Historical Society and a trustee of the Maryland Historical Society, He received his BA from the University of Cambridge and his PhD from Harvard Universit


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