Sharla M. Fett is a professor of history at Occidental College in Los Angeles, working in the fields of nineteenth-century Atlantic World slavery, the antebellum U.S. South, and race, gender, and health. She is the author of Working Cures: Healing, Health, and Power on Southern Slave Plantations (2002) and Recaptured Africans: Surviving Slave Ships, Detention, and Dislocation in the Final Years of the Slave Trade (2017). She has also published in the journal Slavery and Abolition and contributed essays to New Studies in the History of American Slavery (2006), edited by Stephanie Camp and Edward Baptist, and Paths of the Atlantic Slave Trade (2010), edited by Ana Lucia Araujo. She has been a teaching partner with the Colored Conventions Project, founded by Gabrielle Foreman at the University of Delaware, and has edited a student-researched exhibit on California's conventions of the 1850s and 1860s, entitled "Equality Before the Law: California Black Convention Activism, 1855-1865."
This lecture illuminates a little-known arena of free African American protest again US complicity in the nineteenth-century transatlantic slave trade. Centered in New York and led by James Pennington and the Anglo-African Magazine, protest against the illegal slave trade engaged free Black activists in a critique of US law and foreign policy. Pennington's efforts on behalf of recaptive Africans seized from illegal slave ships reveals new dimensions of Black transatlantic antislavery activism.