Author and Historian

Jonathan M. Bryant

Dark Places of the Earth: The Voyage of the Slave Ship Antelope.
W. W. Norton  A Liveright Book,  2015 

ISBN  978-0-87140-675-0

Dark Places of the Earth

A dramatic narrative of slavery, corruption, and the law in the young American republic. 

In 1820, the slave ship Antelope was captured off the Florida coast. Though the slave trade was prohibited, slavery was still legal in half of the United States, and the Supreme Court had to decide whether the nearly 300 Africans on board were considered slaves—and if so, to whom they belonged. Mining untapped archives, Jonathan M. Bryant recounts the Antelope’s fraught journey across the Atlantic, leading up to the momentous courtroom battle of 1825 that defined the moral and legal implications of slavery for a generation. From Havana ports to the West African coast, from Georgia plantations to a Liberian settlement, Dark Places of the Earth creates a multidimensional portrait of the global slave trade. Bryant’s work restores the Antelope case to its rightful place as one of the most shocking and unjustly forgotten episodes in American legal history.