A podcast about history

That's not stuck in the past


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]

This is what the Shorey House at 1782 8th St. in West Oakland looked like as of 2016. It is an official Oakland Historic Landmark. [Photo: Liam O’Donoghue]

California’s only black whaling captain

William Shorey’s journey from sailor to celebrity
Recent Episodes