Lecture to explore why the Atlantic slave trade survived up until the Civil War

The Alexandrian Society of VCU program will feature Erskine College professor John Harris, an expert in American slavery in the 19th century.

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The Alexandrian Society of VCU will present a lecture titled “Why Did the Atlantic Slave Trade Survive All the Way Up to the American Civil War?” featuring John Harris, Ph.D., author of the 2020 book, “The Last Slave Ships: New York and the End of the Middle Passage.”

Harris, the McDonald-Boswell Assistant Professor of History at Erskine College, will speak via Zoom on Wednesday, Oct. 20, from 4 to 6 p.m. The event will be free and open to the public. The lecture will be available at: https://vcu.zoom.us/j/96728939703.

Harris is an expert in American slavery in the 19th century, and teaches course at Erskine including The Atlantic Slave Trade, The American Civil War and The Atlantic World, 1400-1830.

John Harris, Ph.D., is an expert in American slavery in the 19th century.

“The Last Slave Ships,” published by Yale University Press, describes the illegal continuation of the trans-Atlantic slave trade after it was outlawed in the early 19th century by every major slave trading nation. The book received positive reviews in The New York Review of Books, The New Republic, The Nation and elsewhere. The Victorian Society, New York, selected it as a Book of the Year for 2020.

Harris also has published an article on financing illegal slaving voyages in the Journal of Global History, written op/eds for Smithsonian Magazine, History.com and The Washington Post, and created a digital exhibit on the slave trade that has been widely used in classrooms.

Founded in the 1960s, the Alexandrian Society is one of the oldest student organizations at VCU. However, the focus of the society has changed over time. Since 2003, when professor Bernard Moitt, Ph.D., became the faculty adviser of the society, promoting academic excellence has been the emphasis of its activities. The society focuses largely on the Atlantic World with particular emphasis on such areas as slavery, race, the Black condition in the Americas and gender. Although it is dedicated to the study of history, membership is open to all VCU students, irrespective of concentration or major.