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About Richard Bell
His first book, We Shall Be No More: Suicide and Self-Government in the Newly United States, was published in 2012. His second book, co-edited with Michele Lise Tarter, Buried Lives: Incarcerated in Early America, was published the same year. His new book, Stolen: Five Free Boys Kidnapped into Slavery and Their Astonishing Odyssey Home, was published in 2019.
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Philadelphia, 1825: five young, free black boys fall into the clutches of the most fearsome gang of kidnappers and slavers in the United States. 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.
“Rigorously researched, heartfelt, and dramatically concise, Bell’s investigation illuminates the role slavery played in the systemic inequalities that still confront Black Americans” (Booklist).
Introduction, Jean H. Baker and Charles W. Mitchell
“Border State, Border War: Fighting for Freedom and Slavery in Antebellum Maryland,” Richard Bell
“Charity Folks and the Ghosts of Slavery in Pre–Civil War Maryland,” Jessica Millward
“Confronting Dred Scott: Seeing Citizenship from Baltimore,” Martha S. Jones
“‘Maryland Is This Day . . . True to the American Union’: The Election of 1860 and a Winter of Discontent,” Charles W. Mitchell
“Baltimore’s Secessionist Moment: Conservatism and Political Networks in the Pratt Street Riot and Its Aftermath,” Frank Towers
“Abraham Lincoln, Civil Liberties, and Maryland,” Frank J. Williams
“The Fighting Sons of ‘My Maryland’: The Recruitment of Union Regiments in Baltimore, 1861–1865,” Timothy J. Orr
“‘What I Witnessed Would Only Make You Sick’: Union Soldiers Confront the Dead at Antietam,” Brian Matthew Jordan
“Confederate Invasions of Maryland,” Thomas G. Clemens
“Achieving Emancipation in Maryland,” Jonathan W. White
“Maryland’s Women at War,” Robert W. Schoeberlein
“The Failed Promise of Reconstruction,” Sharita Jacobs Thompson
“‘F––k the Confederacy’: The Strange Career of Civil War Memory in Maryland after 1865,” Robert J. Cook