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Journalism Professor Roger House Reflects on Free Black Seamen of Martha’s Vineyard

Associate Professor of Journalism Roger House recently checked out an exhibit on whaling and Martha’s Vineyard history. While impressed with the exhibit, he found it lacked the inclusion of more diverse stories — particularly the role of Afro-Americans in the whaling industry. House’s column on expanded upon the history of Afro-Americans in the whaling industry.

The whaling ships of Massachusetts employed black seamen as well — to the extent that the writer Herman Melville made note of it in the 1851 novel, “Moby-Dick.”

Read House’s column on

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