‘Casually Lost’ and Commonly Stolen: Slave Stealing in American History

Wilberforce Institute Webinar, Thursday 22 April 2021, 4PM – 6PM BST

Dr Laura Sandy

Department of History,

University of Liverpool


We hope you will join us for our next webinar on Thursday April 22 at our usual time of 4pm (BST). The speaker will be Dr Laura Sandy, Senior Lecturer in the History of Slavery and Co-Director of the Centre for the Study of International Slavery at the University of Liverpool. Dr Sandy studies the history of North America, the Atlantic World and slavery, and has undertaken archival research in every former slave state in the southern United States. She has looked at plantation management, resistance, free people of colour, voluntary enslavement, the theft of enslaved people and the laws of slavery. Her most recent work investigates the illegal trafficking of the enslaved in North America in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and this will be the subject of her talk.

The practice of slave stealing spans the history of American slavery. The theft of human property was clearly a complicated crime and those involved in this ‘underground slave trade’ came from a variety of backgrounds and had an array of motives.  By uncovering these histories and integrating them into the broader narrative of slavery, Dr Sandy will provide fascinating new insights into the ‘peculiar institution’ and its evolution over time and space. More broadly, this research enhances our understanding of the multifaceted, internal and external challenges to slavery in the nineteenth century and leading up to the Civil War. Indeed, it argues that slave stealers shaped antebellum southern political thought and made a significant contribution to the rising sense of insecurity over the future of the institution, which led to the growth of sectionalism and the outbreak of war.

To sign up for this free event please click on the link below:


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Notice concerning a white man being put on trial, imprisoned, and branded on the hand with ‘SS’ for slave stealing