3:32 AM / Saturday April 20, 2024

24 Feb 2020

‘Stolen: Five Free Boys Kidnapped into Slavery and Their Astonishing Odyssey Home’ book talk and signing

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February 24, 2020 Category: Local Posted by:

A book talk and signing event featuring author Robert Bell and his latest work, “Stolen: Five Free Boys Kidnapped into Slavery and Their Astonishing Odyssey Home” will take place on Friday, February 21 from 6:00p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at The African American Museum in Philadelphia, located at 701 Arch Street.

The event is being held in partnership with the Library Company of Philadelphia.

‘Stolen: Five Free Boys Kidnapped into Slavery and Their Astonishing Odyssey Home” recounts the true story of five young, free Black boys, who in 1825 fall into the clutches of the most fearsome gang of kidnappers and slavers in the United States in Philadelphia.

Lured onto a small ship with the promise of food and pay, they are instead met with blindfolds, ropes, and knives. Over four long months, their kidnappers drive them overland into the Cotton Kingdom to be sold as slaves. Determined to resist, the boys form a tight brotherhood as they struggle to free themselves and find their way home. 

Their ordeal — an odyssey that takes them from the Philadelphia waterfront to the marshes of Mississippi and then onward still — shines a glaring spotlight on the Reverse Underground Railroad, a black market network of human traffickers and slave traders who stole away thousands of legally free African Americans from their families in order to fuel slavery’s rapid expansion in the decades before the Civil War.

The book’s author, Dr. Richard Bell, is associate 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 also 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.

This ticketed event is free to the public. For more information, visit:

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