The media called him “Black Ahab” and his adventures made him an Oakland hero. He was one of the most powerful men of color in California—but there’s a complicated side to his story that’s rarely discussed. This episode weaves together histories of slavery, whaling and a flood of African American seamen into 19th century Bay Area to explore William Shorey’s rise to the top of a bloody, brutal industry.
This episode features an interview with Prof. Kevin Dawson, UC Merced Associate Professor of History.
Read more: “California’s Only Black Whaling Captain, William Shorey, Lived in Oakland” [East Bay Express]