• A section of the bowsprint and figurehead on the bow of BALCLUTHA.

    San Francisco Maritime

    National Historical Park California

African Americans and Our Seafaring History

The crew of the British ship Rathdown photographed in San Francisco in 1892. The two men in aprons are the cook and steward, but the other black men are all seamen.
The crew of the British ship Rathdown photographed in San Francisco in 1892. The two men in aprons are the cook and steward, but the other black men are all seamen.
NPS

Subscribe RSS Icon | What is RSS
News Release Date: January 3, 2007
Contact: John Cunnane, 415-561-7123

Learn about the major roles that African Americans have played in maritime history. From the earliest years of our nation to the modern day, African Americans have built, crewed, and captained ships, fought in wars, invented shipboard tools, and developed maritime music. Throughout February, San FranciscoMaritimeNationalHistoricalPark celebrates African American History Month with programs for the whole family.

 

Chantey Sing - Saturday, February 3, 8pm-12am

The park’s monthly chantey sing, an open session of maritime music held aboard the historic sailing ship Balclutha, will emphasize sea songs of African American and Caribbean sailors. All are welcome to sing! Reservations required. Call 415-561-7171, or email. Free.

 

African Americans and World War II Liberty Ships - Sundays, February 11 and 18, 2pm

Park Ranger Carol Kiser presents a slide program detailing the contributions of African Americans to the construction and operation of Liberty Ships during World War II. Visitor Center Theater. Free.

 

Maritime Routes of the Underground Railroad - Saturday, February 17, 1pm

Guy Washington presents a 45-minute slide program showing how ships became routes to freedom in the Underground Railroad. Learn about African and American enslavement and discover the inspiring stories of escapes in search of freedom. Visitor Center Theater. Free.

 

Chanteys: The African American and CaribbeanConnection - Saturday, February 24, 3pm

Join Park Ranger Peter Kasin and park volunteer Richard Adrianowicz in a program of African American and Caribbean work songs of 19th century sailors and dock workers. The choruses to these chanteys are easy to sing and participants are encouraged to sing along. Aboard Balclutha, Hyde Street Pier. Ship admission: $5/adult, under 16 free.

 

Exhibit: African Americans in the Maritime Trades - daily, throughout February

Photograph exhibit about the contributions of African Americans in maritime industries. Hyde Street Pier. Free.

 

San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park is located at the west end of Fisherman’s Wharf, in San Francisco. The park includes a magnificent fleet of historic ships, visitor center, maritime museum (closed for renovation), and library. For more information about the park, or its public programs, please call 415-447-5000.

Did You Know?

The Grace Quan, a Chinese shrimp junk, sailing on San Francisco Bay.

In 2003 employees and volunteers, from San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park and China Camp State Park in Northern California, built a replica of a Chinese Shrimp Junk and named it the GRACE QUAN. More...