GLC @Lunch: Timothy D. Walker, Sailing to Freedom: Maritime Dimensions of the Underground Railroad
Sailing to Freedom: Maritime Dimensions of the Underground Railroad focuses on seaborne escapes of enslaved African Americans along the eastern seaboard.
Contemporary scholarship and teaching about the Underground Railroad focus almost exclusively on overland escape routes. However, new research reveals that multitudes of enslaved persons made their way to freedom using coastwise water routes – especially from ports and coastal areas in the far South, where waterfront employment by slaves was universal. Seaborne travel provided the only practical escape method from the coastal deep South, because fleeing long distances overland was too slow, too dangerous, and too logistically complicated. Of the documented successful escapes from the far South, almost all were achieved by sea.
Timothy D. Walker (B.A., Hiram College, 1986; M.A., Ph.D., Boston University, 2001) is Professor of History at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, where he serves on the Executive Board of the Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture. He is a scholar of maritime history, colonial overseas expansion, and trans-oceanic slave trading, and is an Affiliated Researcher of the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal. Walker was a visiting professor at the Universidade Aberta in Lisbon (1994-2003) and at Brown University (2010). He is the recipient of a Fulbright dissertation fellowship to Portugal (1996-1997), and an American Institute for Indian Studies grant for post-doctoral work in Goa, India (2000-2002). Since 2018, Walker has been a Guest Investigator of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, drawing historic weather data from archived whaling logbooks, Portuguese colonial, and other maritime documentation. He is a contributing faculty member of the Munson Institute of Maritime Studies, and Director of the NEH “Landmarks in American History” workshops series, titled “Sailing to Freedom: New Bedford and the Underground Railroad” (2011–2022).
Webinar participants who wish to order the book may use the promo code MAS022, which is good for 30% off the cover price of the book and free shipping, when purchased through the UMASS Press website (or call 1-800-621-2736): https://www.umasspress.com/9781625345936/sailing-to-freedom/