James DeWolf and the Rhode Island Slave Trade
Over thirty thousand slaves were brought to the shores of colonial America on ships owned and captained by James DeWolf. When the United States took action to abolish slavery, this Bristol native manipulated the legal system and became actively involved in Rhode Island politics in order to pursue his trading ventures. DeWolf's political power and central role in sustaining the state's economy allowed him to evade prosecution from local and federal authorities—even on counts of murder. Through archival records, author Cynthia Johnson tells DeWolf’s story of corruption and exploitation in the Ocean State from slave ships to politics.