Freedom Seekers: Escaping from Slavery in Restoration London

Book Launch and Panel Discussion

Friday 18 February 2022
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Published on 1 February 2022, Simon P. Newman’s Freedom Seekers: Escaping from Slavery in Restoration London uncovers the true extent of slavery in 17th-century England through the hidden stories of enslaved and bound people in London.

Simon’s book is now available free, Open Access, to read ahead of the event.




Speakers at the event

  • Professor Simon P. Newman (University of Wisconsin-Madison and University of Glasgow)
  • Professor Corinne Fowler (University of Leicester)
  • Professor Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)
  • Professor Emma Griffin (RHS President and University of East Anglia (chair)

Freedom Seekers demonstrates not only that enslaved people were present in Restoration London but White Londoners of this era were intimately involved in the construction of the system of racial slavery, a process that traditionally has been regarded as happening in the colonies rather than the British Isles. An unmissable and important book that seeks to delve into Britain’s colonial past.

About our panel

  • Simon P. Newman is Emeritus Professor of History, University of Glasgow, and Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Research in the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 2022 Simon is visiting scholar at the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History at Harvard University. Simon’s recent research has focused on runaway slaves in the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century English Atlantic world, of which his new book, Freedom Seekers, forms part. Simon is also a founding editor of New Historical Perspectives, the RHS Open Access book series for Early Career Historians.
  • Corinne Fowler is Professor of Post-Colonial Literature at the University of Leicester and Director of Colonial Countryside: National Trust Houses Reinterpreted — a child-led writing and history project exploring the African, Caribbean and Indian connections at 11 of National Trust properties. Corinne is an expert in the legacies of colonialism and post-colonialism to literature, heritage and representations of British history. Her latest book is Green Unpleasant Land. Creative Responses to Rural England’s Colonial Connections (2020).
  • Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina is the Paul Murray Kendall Chair in Biography, and Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Gretchen is a specialist in Black British studies and the author of Britain’s Black Past (2020), was based on the BBC Radio 4 series of the same title, in addition to earlier titles including Mr and Mrs Prince (2013), Black Victorians, Black Victoriana (2003) and Black London. Life Before Emancipation (1995).
  • Emma Griffin is President of the Royal Historical Society and Professor of Modern British History at the University of East Anglia

Watch the recording of this event


RHS Lecture and Events: Full Programme for 2022 >