John Harris is assistant professor of history at Erskine College.
Harris uncovers the untold story of Lower Manhattan as one of the last hubs of the transatlantic slave trade in the age of steamships, telegrams and daily newspapers. Set against a background of secessionist politics, British spies, and international diplomacy, the author elegantly tracks the last sixteen years of the traffic and offers a new interpretation of why it came to an end. This page-turner combines first rate scholarship with a clear and compelling argument. -David Eltis, co-author of Atlas of the Transatlantic Slave Trade Brilliant and strikingly original. An important addition to the literature on the U.S. involvement in the illegal slave trade with major implications for our understanding of the larger conduct of that traffic throughout the Atlantic world. -Randy J. Sparks, Tulane University With startling detail and crisp prose, Harris exposes an international ring of human traffickers based in Lower Manhattan during the final years of the transatlantic slave trade. Today, as the United States scrutinizes the roots of anti-black racism and the traumatic legacies of slavery, The Last Slave Ships reveals new dimensions of U.S. complicity in the twinned history of global capital and chattel slavery. -Sharla Fett, author of Recaptured Africans: Surviving Slave Ships, Detention, and Dislocation in the Final Years of the Slave Trade