The Slave-Trader’s Letter-Book:
Charles Lamar, the Wanderer, and Other Tales of the African Slave Trade
Tuesday, March 5 | 6:00 p.m.
Marlene and Nathan Addlestone Library Rm. 227. | FREE
In 2010, author and historian Jim Jordan purchased three steamer trunks full of private papers belonging to wealthy, nineteenth-century Savannah businessman Gazaway Bugg Lamar. The papers had been stored away, far from human eyes, for about one hundred years in an attic in New Jersey.
Among the documents were copies of seventy letters written by Gazaway’s son, Charles Lamar. In 1858, Charles, in violation of U.S. law, organized the shipment of hundreds of Africans on the luxury yacht Wanderer to Jekyll Island, Georgia. 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. Although Lamar was from Savannah and the Africans were disembarked in Georgia, the letters reveal that the saga of the Wanderer is as much a South Carolina story as a Georgia one. Jordan’s talk summarizes the history of the transatlantic African slave trade, including the illegal years, in which the United States and several other maritime powers figured so prominently.
Jordan wrote the Slave-Trader’s Letter-Book: Charles Lamar, the Wanderer, and Other Tales of the African Slave Trade, published by the University of Georgia Press, based on this long-lost collection. The Georgia Historical Records Advisory Council of the University System of Georgia honored Jordan with the 2018 Award for Excellence in Documenting Georgia History.
FREE and open to the public; Registration is required.
Native New Yorker Jim Jordan received his B.B.A. and M.B.A. from Pace University in New York and is a CPA. He spent his professional career working as a financial analyst and accounting systems consultant. He moved to Callawassie Island, South Carolina in 1994 and retired in 2000.
In 2001, Jordan turned to writing historical fiction and completed Savannah Grey: A Tale of Antebellum Georgia in 2007 and Penny Savannah: A Tale of Civil War Georgia in 2016.
In 2018, the University of Georgia Press published his non-fiction work, The Slave-Trader’s Letter-Book: Charles Lamar, the Wanderer, and Other Tales of the African Slave Trade.