Images of American slavery conjure up cotton plantations and African Americans locked in bondage until the Civil War. Yet early in the nineteenth century the state of slavery was very different, and the political vicissitudes of the young nation offered diverse possibilities to slaves. Though surprising numbers of slaves did assist the Americans in the War of 1812, the conflict created opportunities for slaves to find freedom among the British. The Slaves' Gamble: Choosing Sides in the War of 1812 by Gene Smith offers a fascinating and original narrative history of an extraordinary yet little-known chapter in the dark saga of American history.
Smith is professor of history and the director of the Center for Texas Studies at Texas Christian University.
This lecture is cosponsored with the War of 1812 Commission and the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Commission.
Free admission for Richmond Times-Dispatch readers with a Press Pass coupon.