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A groundbreaking history of the Black Joke, the most famous member of the British Royal Navy’s anti-slavery squadron, and the long fight to end the transatlantic slave trade.
The most feared ship in Britain’s West Africa Squadron, His Majesty’s brig Black Joke was one of a handful of ships tasked with patrolling the western coast of Africa in an effort to end hundreds of years of global slave trading. Sailing after the spectacular fall of Napoleon in France, yet before the rise of Queen Victoria’s England, Black Joke was first a slaving vessel itself, and one with a lightning-fast reputation; only a lucky capture in 1827 allowed it to be repurposed by the Royal Navy to catch its former compatriots. Over the next five years, the ship’s diverse crew and dedicated commanders would capture more ships and liberate more enslaved people than any other in the Squadron. The Black Joke: The True Story of One Ship's Battle Against the Slave Trade
A.E. Rooks hopes to always be a student of history, though that hasn’t stopped her from studying everything else. She is a two-time Jeopardy! champion with completed degrees in theatre, law, and library and information science—and forthcoming degrees in education and human sexuality—whose intellectual passions are united by what the past can teach us about the present, how history shapes our future, and above all, really interesting stories.
Damon Young's debut memoir What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker: A Memoir In Essays (Ecco/HarperCollins) won the 2020 Thurber Prize for American Humor and Barnes & Noble's 2019 Discover Award. It was also longlisted for the PEN America Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award, nominated for both an NAACP Image Award and a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and is a Krause Essay Prize nominee. NPR, which named it one of the best books of 2019, called it an "outstanding collection of nonfiction." Damon's also the co-founder of the culture blog VerySmartBrothas, was a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, a columnist for GQ, and has written for The Atlantic, Esquire, Time Magazine, NY Mag, The Undefeated, EBONY, and The Pittsburgh Post Gazette.