The Black Joke: A. E. Rooks in conversation with Henry Lovejoy (Virtual)

Join us for a virtual event with author A. E. Rooks and featured guest Professor Henry Lovejoy as we celebrate The Black Joke on January 31st. Join the webinar here:

About the Authors: 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.

Professor Henry Lovejoy’s first book, Prieto: Yorùbá Kingship in Colonial Cuba during the Age of Revolutions, won the Chief Isaac Oluwole Delano Foundation best book prize for Yoruba Studies; and was a finalist for the Albert J. Raboteau best book prize (Journal of Africana Religions). He is co-editor of the volume Liberated Africans and the Abolition of the Slave Trade, 1807-1896. He has received other awards from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, National Endowment for the Humanities, Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University, among other opportunities through CU Boulder. He sits on the advisory for the Black American West Museum & Heritage Centre in Five Points, Denver.

About the Book: In the vein of Caste and The 1619 Project, THE BLACK JOKE is a powerful, engrossing dive into one ship’s prevailing influence in the 19th century, at a time when transatlantic slavery was prolonged for decades through the inaction of the world’s key geopolitical players. The Black Joke was the most feared and famous member of the British Royal Navy’s anti-slavery squadron— first a slaving vessel itself, and one with a lightning-fast reputation.

Over the course of five years, the Black Joke’s diverse crew and dedicated commanders would capture more ships and liberate more enslaved people than any other ship in the Squadron, although the outcome for those liberated was more complicated than simple "freedom."

As Britain slowly attempted to end the transatlantic slave trade through treaties and negotiations, enforcing these policies fell to the Black Joke’s captains and crew as they battled slavers, weather disasters, and epidemics. In THE BLACK JOKE, the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade is revealed as a painfully and needlessly extended process involving decades of tense international negotiations—and, through the story of this single ship, both battles at sea and battles of political will come vividly, memorably alive.

With a fast-paced narrative and brilliant, lively writing, THE BLACK JOKE is a crucial and deeply compelling work of history, both as a reckoning with slavery and abolition and as a lesson about the power of political will—or the lack thereof.

Event date: 
Monday, January 31, 2022 - 6:00pm
The Black Joke: The True Story of One Ship's Battle Against the Slave Trade Cover Image
ISBN: 9781982128265
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Scribner - January 18th, 2022