In pre-emancipation America there were few, if any, industries where African heritage and indigenous men could rise to positions of power. In this episode, historian Skip Finley explains how America’s whaling ships served as the country’s first meritocracies. Skin color and ethnicity were secondary to one’s ability to safely pilot a ship and effectively kill whales. Whalers who demonstrated these abilities had opportunities to learn navigation, financial literacy, commerce, and reading and writing- skills virtually unavailable to their land-based brethren. Skip provides a detailed, fascinating look at whaling ships and the whalers of color that operated them.
You can find Skip Finley at https://www.skipfinley.com
Ships mentioned: Charles W. Morgan, Ernestina, Thomas W. Lawson