Monday, May 10, 2021

May Virtual Author Talk: Skip Finley

Join the State Library in partnership with the Boston Public Library, the Museum of African American History (MAAH), and American Ancestors/New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) for an online conversation with Skip Finley, author of Whaling Captains of Color: America's First Meritocracy. Priscilla H. Douglas, Chair of the Boston Public Library Board of Trustees, will provide opening remarks for this online talk, which is free and open to all.

The history of whaling as an industry on this continent has been well-told in books, including some that have been bestsellers, but what hasn’t been told is the story of whaling’s leaders of color who pursued the hard road of the whaling industry to avoid slavery. Whaling was one of the first American industries to exhibit diversity: a man became a captain not because he was white or well connected, but because he knew how to kill a whale. Along the way, he could learn navigation, reading, and writing. Whaling presented a tantalizing alternative to mainland life.

Working with archival records at whaling museums, in libraries, from private archives and interviews with people whose ancestors were whaling masters, Finley culls stories from the lives of over 50 black whaling captains to create a portrait of what life was like for these leaders of color on the high seas.

Skip Finley is a former broadcasting executive who was responsible for over 40 U.S. radio stations and experienced success in all areas of radio. Attempting retirement since age 50, he keeps returning to communications, currently in marketing at the Vineyard Gazette Media Group on Martha's Vineyard, where he summered since 1955, deciding to become a writer. For five years Finley wrote the weekly Oak Bluffs Town Column and is a contributor to several publications in the areas of whaling and history. 

To register for this online event, please visit: 

Be sure to check out the other upcoming author events hosted by our partners:

Author Talks Committee
State Library of Massachusetts