Black sailors in Philly

The Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia is putting on an exhibit about the history of African American maritime experience, and it’s not about slavery for a change.

Black Hands, Blue Sea examines the contributions black Americans have made to seafaring.

Black Hands, Blue Seas brings together art, documents, tools, memorabilia, photographs, music, video, and literature to trace the rich maritime heritage of African Americans, from inventors and abolitionists to naval heroes and explorers.

Videos include historic footage, recent interviews, and music, while audio programs feature songs, poetry, and first-hand accounts of black mariners’ experiences.

It’s not just about men, either. Check out this neat picture of women shipyard workers about to weld their first piece of steel in 1943:

The exhibit began at the Mystic Seaport Museum in Connecticut, but Independence has added some local Philadelphia elements as well, like the story of Arctic explorer Matthew Henson.


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2008-09-10 14:45:13

There IS, however, an exhibit right across town at the Franklin Institute which is all about pirating. It includes the story of a pirated slave ship.

Could be a good way to package a trip to Philadelphia?

Comment by livius drusus
2008-09-10 15:21:29

You mean like a seafaring tour of the city? Sounds like fun to me. 🙂

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