BY Daily Dose
(2.17) Rescheduled from an earlier date, Friday’s installment of the excellent Moby-Dick series at the Athenaeum “Hark! The White Whale!” will be the last. Today writer LaShonda Barnett, in association with the Rhode Island Black Heritage Society, presents ‘To Serve Before the Mast: Recovering the Lost Legacy of Rhode Island’s Black Seaman.’
While little documented in scholarship, African-American sailors, free and enslaved, crewed riverboats, whaling ships, and many of the merchant vessels that embarked from the port cities of Bristol, Newport, and Providence. While Rhode Island’s slave trafficking history is well-known, scant public knowledge exists on the black merchant seamen and whalemen who comprised a significant portion of America’s burgeoning commercial workforce, thus contributing to the first global economy.
Barnett’s project analyzes the contributions and experiences of African-American and Cape Verdean seamen and whalemen and the shape of racial thinking in the late 18th-century maritime culture in Rhode Island. Sponsored by the R.I. Council of the Humanities.
5pm to 7pm, Friday, February 17, Providence Athenaeum, 251 Benefit Street