Black Mariners - Portsmouth, NH
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member Chasing Blue Sky
N 43° 04.765 W 070° 45.499
19T E 356865 N 4771134
This historical marker is one of the stops along the Black Heritage Trail, describing the work life of Black mariners in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, over 200 years.
Waymark Code: WMJ0TP
Location: New Hampshire, United States
Date Posted: 09/06/2013
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member cache_test_dummies
Views: 2

This historical marker is attached to a red brick wall along Ceres Street, next to the harbor; it reads:

Black Heritage Trail

Black Mariners

Enslaved and free Black men in Portsmouth were
seafarers from the mid 1700s through 1865. In the
early 1800s seafaring was one of the few
occupations open here for free Blacks, who sought
economic equality as mariners despite the hardships
of life at sea. Ashore, Blacks worked as truckmen
and stevedores along this dock area.

By the close of the Civil War, changing hiring
practices excluded Blacks from ships' crews. At
sea they were limited to service as cooks and
stewards, even in the U.S. Navy, until
after World War II.

"Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail
Site #15
Ceres Street

Portsmouth Waterfront Enslaved marines were part of the Portsmouth scene by 1727. They worked mostly in the Atlantic coastal and West Indies trades, and some sailed in the Revolution. In freedom, black Yankees continued working at this dangerous and undesirable occupation in numbers disproportionate to their portion of the total population. Most black people in Portsmouth lived within a few blocks of the river. Jobs as mariners, stevedores and truckmen were available in places like Ceres Street, which is little changed since 1805. At sea, the need to cooperate for safety in severe conditions and for mutual support against harsh captains fostered inter-racial egalitarianism and friendships. Black Jacks Employers gave equal pay and rank to qualified black mariners; some became officers on New England's dangerous whaling ships. The reasonable pay enabled them to purchase modest homes, raise families, start businesses, or move to more promising towns. Mid-century brought change. Responsibility for hiring crews shifted from owners or captains to shipping masters, who hired white mariners over black. By 1850, black men at sea were limited to the roles of cook, steward, or cabin servant. By the 1860s black mariners were remembered as a feature of Portsmouth's past; a long tradition had ended." SOURCE

Marker Name: Black Mariners

Marker Type: Local/Unofficial

Marker Location: Portsmouth

Official Marker Number: Not listed

Date Marker Established: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
-- At least one original photo of the marker showing some of the background. (You or team members may be included, and you may submit multiple photos.)

-- Date of your visit

-- Optional: Any interesting details of your trip

-- Optional: Additional research, links, etc. relevant to the historical event, person or place commemorated.
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Chasing Blue Sky visited Black Mariners - Portsmouth, NH 05/10/2013 Chasing Blue Sky visited it