A Division of William Francis Galvin, Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

From Slavery to Freedom: African-Americans and Maritime History

From Slavery to Freedom: African-Americans and Maritime HistoryThe sea played a significant role in the history of African-Americans. 

It was a source of misery on the dangerous passage from Africa to the new world.  Some Massachusetts merchants participated directly in the Atlantic slave trade. Some grew rich through close economic connections with sugar plantations in the West Indies. 

By the nineteenth century Massachusetts became an important center of the abolitionist movement.  Now seaport communities were an avenue of escape for fugitive slaves and a source of employment. This was particularly true in the whaling port of New Bedford.

This lobby exhibit traces important themes in maritime history that have often been hidden.

Through May, 2017