Before Black Lives Matter: Author talk on Stolen, Five Free Boys Kidnapped into Slavery and their Astonishing Journey Home

Harvard PhD Richard Bell, on stealing Black freedom and the Reverse Underground Railroad

Sponsored by the Harvard Club of San Francisco

America has a long history of slavery and racism to reckon with, and the long-overdue conversation is just beginning. HCSF presents a historical perspective with Dr. Richard Bell, author of Stolen: Five Free Boys Kidnapped into Slavery and Their Astonishing Odyssey Home. (Simon & Schuster) It tells a gripping and true story about five boys who were kidnapped in the North and smuggled into slavery in the Deep South—and their daring attempt to escape and bring their captors to justice.


Dr. Richard Bell is a Professor of History at the University of Maryland. He has won more than a dozen teaching awards, including the University System of Maryland Board of Regents Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching, the highest honor for teaching faculty in the Maryland state system. He has held major research fellowships at Yale, Cambridge, and the Library of Congress and is the recipient of the National Endowment of the Humanities Public Scholar award. He serves as a Trustee of the Maryland Historical Society, as an elected member of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, and as a fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

Stolen offers a worm’s eye view of the leviathan of American slavery, and of some of its most dastardly perpetrators and its most remarkable survivors. Richard Bell has researched inventively and mastered a vast body of scholarship, as we would expect from so distinguished a historian. But he also imbues his tale with the deep humanity of a great novelist.– Jane Kamensky, Jonathan Trumbull Professor of American History, Harvard University

In Stolen Richard Bell brings to life amoral con men, heartless slave dealers and suffering victims. He vividly re-creates the squalid social environments of interstate human trafficking. His superbly researched and engaging book exposes previously hidden horrors of American slavery. - The Wall Street Journal

June 29, 2020
5pm – 6:15pm Pacific Time

Free to Attend

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