Even though slavery had been outlawed in New York City by the 1830s, Black residents were not safe. Here Jonathan Daniel Wells tells the story of the powerful network of judges, lawyers, and police officers who circumvented anti-slavery laws to facilitate the kidnapping of free and fugitive African Americans. Nicknamed "The New York Kidnapping Club," the group had the tacit support from Wall Street to Tammany Hall, institutions whose wealth depended on the Southern slave and cotton trade. But as Wells reveals, a small cohort of abolitionists, including Black journalist David Ruggles, organized tirelessly and risked their lives to see that justice prevailed.
"Lively prose and vivid scenes of New York street life complement the meticulous research…. A revealing look at a little-known chapter in the history of racial injustice."—Publishers Weekly