William T. Shorey (July 13, 1859 – April 15, 1919) was a late 19th-century American whaling ship captain known to his crew as the Black Ahab.[1] He was born in Barbados July 13, 1859. He was of African descent through Barbados.[2] Spent his life at sea. He became the only black captain operating on the west coast of the United States in the late-1880s and 1890s.[3] The John and Winthrop was the only whaling ship in the world to be manned entirely by an African-American crew.[4]

William T. Shorey
Born(1859-07-13)July 13, 1859
DiedApril 15, 1919(1919-04-15) (aged 59)
OccupationShip Captain
SpouseJulia Ann Shelton
ChildrenZenobia Pearl Shorey, Victoria Grace Shorey, William T. Shorey Jr

Early life edit

Shorey was born in 1859 on the Caribbean Island of Barbados. His father was Scottish and planted sugar and his mother was creole, or West Indian.[5] Even though slavery had ended on the island, there were limited opportunities for "men of color". Shorey was attracted to sea-life and adventure, and seized the opportunity to leave the island on board a ship bound for Boston. Through his relationship with the Captain on charge of the ship, he learned how to sail and navigate ocean waters. He began work as on a whaler sometime in the 1870s.[5]

Career edit

He obtained his certification in 1885.[6] His whaling voyages were based out of San Francisco on the whaling ships Emma F. Herriman, Alexander, Andrew Hicks, Gay Head II, and John and Winthrop.[2] Shorey was often a captain of a multi-racial crew.[7] Shorey retired from whaling in 1908 and lived in Oakland, where he became a civic leader, until his death from the Spanish flu pandemic in 1919.[2][8] He is buried at Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland, California.[9]

References edit

  1. ^ Katz, William Loren (1987). The Black West. Seattle: Open Hand Publishing, Inc.
  2. ^ a b c "African American History". San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. National Park Service. Retrieved 28 March 2013.
  3. ^ "Shorey, William Thomas (1859-1919)". BlackPast.org. 12 February 2007. Retrieved 28 March 2013.
  4. ^ Newell, Gordon R., ed. (1966). H.W. McCurdy Marine History of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle, WA: Superior Pub. Co. LCCN 66025424.
  5. ^ a b Tompkins, E. Berkeley (1972). ""Black Ahab: William T. Shorey, Whaling Master."". California Historical Quarterly. 51 (1): 75–84. doi:10.2307/25157362. JSTOR 25157362 – via JSTOR.
  6. ^ "Captain William T. Shorey". calisphere. University of California. Retrieved 28 March 2013.
  7. ^ Farr, James (Spring 1983). "A Slow Boat to Nowhere: The Multi-racial Crews of the American Whaling Industry". The Journal of Negro History. 68 (2): 159–170. doi:10.2307/2717719. JSTOR 2717719. S2CID 149593602.
  8. ^ "A Captain's captain, William T. Shorey". African American Registry. Retrieved 28 March 2013.
  9. ^ Cohn, Abby (January 5, 2001). "They're 6 Feet Under, But Pioneers Draw Crowds to Oakland". San Francisco Chronicle.