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Spring Membership Meeting

“The Discovery of the Slave-Trader’s Letter-Book and the Secrets of the Slave-Ship Wanderer”

In 1858, Savannah businessman Charles Lamar, in violation of U.S. law, organized the shipment of hundreds of Africans on the luxury yacht Wanderer to Jekyll Island, Georgia. The four hundred survivors of the Middle Passage were sold into bondage. This was the first successful documented slave landing in the United States in about four decades and shocked a nation already on the path to civil war.

At the Society’s Spring Membership Meeting on May 10, 2018, author Jim Jordan will discuss his recent book Slave-Trader’s Letter-Book: Charles Lamar, the Wanderer, and Other Tales of the African Slave Trade. In 1886, the North American Review published excerpts from thirty of Lamar’s letters from the 1850s, reportedly taken from his letter book, which describe his criminal activities. However, the authenticity of the letters was in doubt until recently. In 2009, after years of research of the Lamar family, Mr. Jordan found a cache of private papers belonging to Charles Lamar’s father, stored for decades in steamer trunks in a New Jersey attic. Among the documents was Charles Lamar’s letter book, confirming him as the author. The seventy long-lost letters included in Mr. Jordan’s book shed light on the lead-up to the Civil War from the remarkable perspective of a troubled, and troubling, figure. Mr. Jordan donated the collection of ledgers, letters, and other documents dating from 1836 to 1926 to the Georgia Historical Society – which they described as a “national treasure.”

The membership meeting and lecture will be held at the A.W. Jones Heritage Center at 6 p.m. Society members attend free of charge. The cost for non-members is $10.


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May 10
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm