Season One | Episode 8

Episode Eight: Zebulon Ward
Hosted by Dan Gediman. With Caleb McDaniel, featuring Alec Volz.

In addition to being a slave trader and the kidnapper of Henrietta Wood (which we heard about in our last episode), Kentuckian Zebulon Ward made a fortune as a pioneer of the convict leasing system, which, through a loophole in the 13th Amendment, continued slavery by another name for decades after the Civil War. Episode Transcript 


Caleb McDaniel

Dr. W. Caleb McDaniel is Associate Professor of History at Rice University, and a Pulitzer Prize-winning author.

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Dr. W. Caleb McDaniel is Associate Professor of History at Rice University. He is the author of Sweet Taste of Liberty: A True Story of Slavery and Restitution in America (2019), which received the 2020 Pulitzer Prize in History and the Avery O. Craven Award from the Organization of American Historians. His first book, The Problem of Democracy in the Age of Slavery (2013), won the Merle Curti Award from the Organization of American Historians and the James Broussard Prize from the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic. His essays have also appeared in The New York Times, Smithsonian Magazine, The Atlantic, Time, and numerous scholarly journals. He lives in Houston.

Episode Bibliography

Learn more about slavery and its lasting effects in America by exploring the source materials referenced in The Reckoning. Our bibliography contains many items that are available to read or download for free. If you choose to purchase any of the books through the links provided, as an Amazon Associate, our non-profit organization Reckoning, Inc. earns commissions from qualifying purchases.

Fairbank, Calvin. “Exploits of Calvin Fairbank”. Manuscript, 1893. Wilbur H. Siebert Collection.

McDaniel, W. Caleb. (paid link) Sweet Taste of Liberty: A True Story of Slavery and Restitution in America. New York: Oxford University Press, 2019.

Scott, A.H. “Penitentiary Investigation,” The Arkansas Democrat, March 21, 1879.

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