A new project is underway to document the history of generations of African Americans who worked in the Chesapeake Bay seafood industry.
The African American Watermen Project is a collaborative effort of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, National Park Service Chesapeake Bay, Chesapeake Conservation Partnership, and the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.
Following the Civil War, self-employment in oystering, crabbing, fishing, and boat building provided independence and self-sufficiency for Black watermen, a release stated. Labor employment opportunities also supported the processing, packing and shipping of seafood to all parts of the eastern United States.
Today, many of the places associated with this legacy are disappearing. The yearlong project seeks to address this threat by documenting African American watermen culture in Virginia’s coastal communities.
For the purposes of the project, the Chesapeake Watershed in Virginia is defined as tidal water...
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