Thursday 28 September 2017

Black seafarers celebrated in Black History Month, Merseyside Maritime Museum

Tomorrow the UK's first large exhibition about Black and Minority Ethic (BAME) seafarers opens, at Merseyside Maritime Museum, Liverpool.
Black Salt
is based on Dr Ray Costello's book of the same name.
It's a great start to Black History Month. Showing how much black people were part of Britain's commercial and naval life corrects the skew that formerly showed Jack Tar as a rollicking white chap whose main contact with BAME people was as lovers.

Even today the Royal Navy has only 5% BAME members (about 1,130), although BAME people are actually 14 per cent of the total population. But the RN is trying hard to recruit more. It has Diversity and Inclusion policies that mean no-one today would be the target of the racist bullying that some portrayed in this exhibition experienced.
I'm very proud to say I've been a little involved in advising curators, especially on black women seafarers sailing today. They include the UK's first black captain, Belinda Bennett of Wind Star cruises. See this blog:

As well as the exhibition there will be a series of talks. So far they are:
Britain's 18th century Black mariners: at home and abroad
A free talk by Dr Charles R Foy, Associate Professor Early American and Atlantic History at Eastern Illinois University.
Dr Foy's scholarship focuses on 18th century Black maritime culture. A former fellow at the National Maritime Museum and Mystic Seaport, he has published more than a dozen articles on Black mariners and is the creator of the Black Mariner Database, a dataset of more than 27,000 18th century Black Atlantic mariners. He is completing a book manuscript, 'Liberty’s Labyrinth: Freedom in the 18th Century Black Atlantic', that details the nature of freedom in the 18th century through an analysis of the lives of Black mariners.
Charles Foy,

OCT 7 Black seafarers at Trafalgar
Dr Ray Costello talks about the experiences of seafarers of African descent in Nelson’s Royal Navy at the battle of Trafalgar.Ray Costello.

OCT 28 Black Tudor and Stuart sailors
Dr Miranda Kaufmann, Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, talks about chapters from her new book 'Black Tudors –The Untold Story'. This includes the stories of: Jaques Francis, the diver dispatched to salvage lost treasures from the Mary Rose; Diego the Circumnavaigator; and John Anthony the Mariner of Dover.
Pic: Miranda Kaufmann

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