The Dark 'Fugitive Slave' History of Rikers Island

REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

As much as the slave-trade market played a role in building the city of Charleston, South Carolina, and many other cities across the South, Northern cities were no less complicit in the industry of purchased lives. New York City, in fact, held more slaves in the 18th century than any other city except for Charleston.

It’s no surprise then that many of the buildings, streets, banks, and plenty of other New York City landmarks carry the names of slaveowners or...

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