Nauticus to Celebrate Black History Month with Free Piracy Lecture

In celebration of Black History Month, Dr. Cassandra L. Newby-Alexander, Department Chair and Associate Professor of History at Norfolk State University, will will speak on "Pirates and Blackjacks in Hampton Roads, Virginia" on Wednesday, February 24, at 7 p.m. at Nauticus. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Beginning in the 18th century, Virginia had a prickly relationship with black seamen, who were often referred to as "Blackjacks." During the age when Norfolk was plagued with pirates such as Blackbeard and Captain Kidd, blacks were often counted as members of their crews. Slavery had propelled many black men into the maritime industry as an avenue to liberty. Thus, the story of African and African American participation in piracy should be seen as part of the larger quest by enslaved blacks to gain independence, autonomy, and freedom.

Newby-Alexander's lecture is held in conjunction with National Geographic's Real Pirates, organized by National Geographic and Arts and Exhibitions International (AEI) LLC. The exhibit follows the true store of the Whydah, a slave ship turned pirate ship that sank off the coast of Cape Cod over 300 years ago. Real Pirates is on exhibit in the Half Moone Cruise and Celebration Center through April 4, 2010.

Call (757) 627-3823 for more information.