Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-viii

Contents

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pp. ix-x

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Preface

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pp. xi-xvi

“Why are you doing this?” my friend asked.
I looked at her lean brown face, lit by the glass lamps suspended over our restaurant table, and made what I did not recognize, then, as an excuse.
“New England’s relationship with slavery is a great story,” I said. “We’re journalists; we’re supposed to uncover stories of wrong and injustice.” I made my argument, or, as we called it in the newsroom, my pitch....

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ONE: Recovering the Story

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pp. 1-20

On a bitter January Monday in 1757, a ship called the Africa came to sail in the harbor of New London, Connecticut. Joshua Hempstead, who had been keeping a daily diary since 1711, wrote that January 17 was “fair & clear & very Cold.”
The old man lived a stone’s throw from the water, and might even have seen the Africa leave the harbor, but for a port as deeply involved in trade with the British Caribbean as New London, with a dozen or...

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TWO: The Haunted Land

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pp. 21-68

I met John Easton and Dudley Saltonstall in the spring of 2004 when a friend sent me an article that had been published in the Hartford Times in 1928. He enclosed a brief note that said, “Thought of you.” The article, printed out from microfilm, described the logbooks of three slaving voyages, bound together in a single volume....

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THREE: Trouble in Mind

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pp. 69-100

On the day my mother was diagnosed with dementia, the specialist said, “Now she can never be alone.” My brother Chas and sister Kate had taken Mama to a geriatric psychiatrist to be evaluated for her memory problems, problems we thought might be related to depression or exhaustion from having cared for our father for almost a decade.
She was living with me then because her loneliness after Dad’s death was so acute. My brother and sister and I thought she should be...

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FOUR: A History That Doesn’t “Fit”

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pp. 101-130

Fifteen months after that first voyage aboard the Africa in January 1757, Dudley Saltonstall sailed out of New London harbor into an afternoon of rain and gale winds aboard a ship called the Fox. He was nineteen, and about to begin his chronicle of the third voyage in the logbooks, having already served as the chief mate on two slaving voyages, and having experienced, at close hand, the Guinea trade. He had...

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FIVE: Separations

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pp. 131-154

Once, Bence had been simply a mysterious word on a document printed out from a microfilm machine, a place I could not imagine and that I didn’t know would summon me.
After Britain outlawed the slave trade in 1807, the traffic in human beings continued, illegally, for decades, often with New Englanders at the helm. But the law did end slave trading at Bence Island....

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Afterword

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pp. 155-158

My father was a civil rights lawyer. He died before I found the logbooks of a Connecticut slave trader and followed them to Africa, and though I wish I could have talked to Dad about the history I am helping to recover, maybe that isn’t necessary. Maybe it is enough that I know what he did, and that what I’m doing now is the work he showed me. In Sierra Leone, West Africa, I learned a cherished proverb: That the path not die....

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 159-160

For the first book I helped write, I interviewed many scholars, but the process of this book has been different. I already had the soul for this second book, so I read deeply in the work of numerous scholars who I thought would be able to keep me on the right track or who were recommended to me. Many of their names are in the bibliography....

Notes

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pp. 161-172

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 173-184

Reading Guide

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pp. 185-187

About the Author

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pp. 188-191

Color Image Plates

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