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Black Watermen of the Chesapeake Historical Quilt

Ed Lefkowicz | Maryland, United States

Shady Side, Maryland, US - 21 September 2009. Volunteers assemble a quilt pieced from memorabilia of Black watermen at the Salem Avery Museum in Shady Side, Maryland.

Volunteers piece together a history quilt of memorabilia from and relating to the Black watermen of Chesapeake Bay at the Salem Avery Museum in Shady Side Maryland. Scraps of clothing, small artifacts, and printed images of watermen all are included.

The term "watermen", while dating back centuries in England, refers to people who make their livings by fishing, oystering, and crabbing in Chesapeake Bay. They generally own their own boats and work for themselves.

I happened in at the Salem Avery Museum in Shady Side, Maryland, on a day when volunteers under the direction of Joan Gaither of the Maryland Institute College of Art were assembling a historical quilt relating to the Black watermen of Chesapeake Bay. I stayed for a few hours, photographed the process, and interviewed Dr. Gaiter and JR Gross, a waterman who stopped in and who was part of the quilt’s history. Like many watermen, J R started early in life, working for his father when he was 12. His three sons are also watermen.


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