- Historic Sites
The Thirteenth Amendment outlawed slavery in 1865, but right on into this century sailors were routinely drugged, beaten, and kidnapped to man America’s mighty merchant marine
September 1995 | Volume 46, Issue 5
So the custom passed into history—and into the realm of the picturesque. On Pacific Avenue in San Francisco, for instance, a jolly sign showing a well-dressed thug slapping a belaying pin into his open palm welcomes patrons to Shanghai Kelly’s Saloon. But there are places where the crimp’s trade is still too close to be the stuff of ribald legend. The author of this article knows from personal experience that there are members of highly respected families on the West Coast who know all about shanghaiing but are very glad the custom is so forgotten. They are not eager to have the world discover that their ancestral fortune began with a blow to somebody’s head.