“Fugitive Slaves & The Struggle Against Slavery”

“Fugitive Slaves & The Struggle Against Slavery”

On Thursday, November 1, distinguished historian Dr. Richard J.M. Blackett will explore the impact fugitive slaves had on the politics of the critical decade leading up to the Civil War. For event details and how to register, please scroll to the bottom of this event.

Through the close reading of diverse sources ranging from government documents to personal accounts, Richard J. M. Blackett traces the decisions of slaves to escape, the actions of those who assisted them, the many ways black communities responded to the capture of fugitive slaves, and how local laws either buttressed or undermined enforcement of the federal law. Every effort to enforce the law in northern communities produced levels of subversion that generated national debate so much so that, on the eve of secession, many in the South, looking back on the decade, could argue that the law had been effectively subverted by those individuals and states who assisted fleeing slaves.

Image of Dr. Richard J.M. Blackett.

Dr. Richard J. M. Blackett is the Andrew Jackson Professor of History at Vanderbilt University. He is past President of the Association of Caribbean Historians, Associated Editor and Acting Editor of the Journal of American History, and Editor of the Indiana Magazine of History, one of the nation’s oldest historical journals. He is the author of several books, including Building an Antislavery Wall: Black Americans in the Atlantic Abolitionist Movement, 1830-1860 (2002), Divided Hearts: Britain and the American Civil War (2000), and Making Freedom: The Underground Railroad and the Politics of Slavery (2013).



A book signing of The Captive’s Quest for Freedom and a wine and cheese reception will begin at 4pm on Thursday, November 1 at LancasterHistory.org, 230 N. President Ave., Lancaster. The main presentation will begin at 4:30pm in Ryder Hall.

The program is free and open to the public but requires advance registration to guarantee a seat at the presentation. Register online by clicking “Buy Tickets” below or by calling (717) 392-4633. This presentation will also be livestreamed on the LancasterHistory.org Facebook page. Questions and accessibility requests may be directed to info@lancasterhistory.org or (717) 392-4633.


November 1, 2018 Ryder Hall at LancasterHistory.org, 230 N. President Avenue Reception 4pm | Presentation 4:30pm FREE | Registration Required To Guarantee Seat