Slugs and Steins: Beyond the Middle Passage: Slave Trading within the Americas, 1619-1807

More than 12 million enslaved African people endured the infamous Middle Passage across the Atlantic in the slave trade, but for many, the forced migration was not yet over when they reached an American port. Demand for enslaved labor was so rampant in the Americas, that speculators purchased many arriving people only to ship them from colony to colony for resale, often smuggling them across imperial borders. This additional phase of the slave trade within the Americas was important not only for the danger it added to enslaved people’s traumatic journeys, but also for what it reveals about the centrality of slavery to early American life. The routes of the intra-American slave trade spread the institution to virtually every colonial outpost, and traders used the trafficking in highly valuable human beings to build their networks and establish themselves as traders of goods, as well as people.

Associate Professor of History Greg O’Malley has specialized in the history of the slave trade. He earned his Ph.D. from John Hopkins and joined the UC Santa Cruz faculty in 2008. His 2014 book, Final Passages: The Intercolonial Slave Trade of British America, 1619-1807, received three book awards and smoothed the path for multiple grants. Recently he received funding to expand coverage of the Intra-American Slave Trade Database to encompass the forced movement of enslaved people born in America.

Monday, August 10 at 6:30pm to 8:00pm

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