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Alaska may have been the destination of African Americans, who, after traveling to Canada or New England coastal cities such as Boston, became sailors on whaling ships.

Employment on such vessels lessened the risk of capture, especially after the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act was passed, and enabled freedom seekers to make a living.

The whaling industry brought scores of ships into Alaskan waters during the whaling boom years of 1840 to 1870, and those crafts probably brought hundreds of African American sailors.

Most may have only passed through the area, but it is likely that some chose to stay, becoming, for example, residents of small Inupiaq Eskimo villages along the north Alaska coast.