February 8 “Not Contented Ashore”: Black Mariners of Connecticut, 7:00 pm

Wethersfield Historical Society is delighted to welcome Dr. Akeia de Barros Gomes, Senior Curator of Social Maritime Histories at Mystic Seaport Museum to the River, Land, and Sea: Wethersfield’s Maritime History series. Dr. de Barros Gomes’ talk will concentrate on the unique experiences of the large number of Black men – both enslaved and free – who were employed at sea throughout the eighteenth century in Connecticut. She describes the climate in the following words. “Maritime work provided a space of integration, an arena of relative freedom, and was largely merit based. By exploring the historical contexts that Black seafarers navigated and individual stories of Black mariners from Connecticut, we can explore Black maritime culture and communities. We can also begin to understand how these men, their families, their communities and their legacies became, as James Rose asserts ‘an integral part of the historical tapestry of the state of Connecticut.’”

Admission is $10 for the general public and free to current members of Wethersfield Historical Society. The talk will take place in  the Ballroom at the Keeney, 200 Main Street, Wethersfield, CT 06109.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, masking will be required indoors and social distancing will be observed in seating.

All attendees are cordially invited to join the society for cake after Dr. Gomes’ lecture to help the society celebrate our 90th birthday.

New Exhibit: River, Land, and Sea: Wethersfield’s Maritime History

WHS’ latest exhibit, River, Land and Sea: Wethersfield’s Maritime History is now on view in the Wethersfield Museum’s Watson Gallery. As one of the first towns along the Connecticut River actively engaged in maritime trade, Wethersfield has a rich and long history as a trading hub. Town notables like Samuel Boardman and John Hurlbut are featured, as are the commodities they traded in; the Wethersfield red onion, horses, sugar, and salt. Wethersfield’s participation in the Atlantic trade, the West Indies, and slavery are all  explored. The exhibit sheds new light on the often-overlooked stories of multiracial privateers, Black seamen, and enslaved peoples. As always, admission is free, but donations are gratefully accepted.

Support for this exhibit was provided by the Robert Alan Keeney Memorial Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving and the Farmington Bank Community Foundation. In addition to the exhibit itself, several complementary lectures and concerts  are scheduled throughout the coming year to provide additional historical and cultural context. This programming comes to the society through a grant from CT Humanities. Click here for the complete listing of speakers and musicians.