Waters of Despair, Waters of Hope:
African-Americans and the Chesapeake Bay
Since first arriving on a Dutch ship at Old Point Comfort in 1619, Africans and their descendants have played important roles in the history and economy of the Chesapeake Bay. These skilled craftsmen helped build the communities and culture that shaped everyday life, while their labor supported the regional industries and naval presence that still dominate the Bay's economy. In turn, the Chesapeake Bay has figured importantly in the history of African-Americans. The Bay's waterways fed the plantation system that drove the slave trade. At the same time, marine avenues also offered slaves many pathways to freedom.
Exhibition sponsored in part by
Support for the travelling exhibit is provided by The National Park Service,
Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network Grant Program.
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