Rothman Named Finalist for 2022 Harriet Tubman Prize

Josh Rothman standing in front of a bookshelf.

Dr. Joshua Rothman, professor and chair of the Department of History, has been named a finalist for the 2022 Harriet Tubman Prize for his his The Ledger and the Chain: How Domestic Slave Traders Shaped America (Basic Books, 2021).

The Ledger and the Chain debunks the notion that slave traders were social pariahs and outcasts, proving instead that they moved among the social and financial elite of both North and South.

Rothman shows how Isaac Franklin, John Armfield, and Rice Ballard built the largest slave-trading operation in US history, creating an empire that stretched from Maryland to Louisiana, as well as how their road to success mirrored the successful practices of other American businesses of the period. As they bought and sold the enslaved, these men maximized efficiency, streamlined logistics, and developed intricate credit networks to finance their operations.

The Tubman Prize is awarded by the Lapidus Center for the Historical Analysis of Transatlantic Slavery at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black History, part of the New York Public Library. This prestigious award is given annually to the best US nonfiction book on the slave trade, slavery, and anti-slavery in the Atlantic World.

The winner of the award will be announced in November.

Congratulations to Dr. Rothman!