Promotion prospects of seafarers of African descent in the British Navy in previous centuries
A free talk for Seafarers Awareness Week, with historian Ray Costello.
During the period of the transatlantic slave trade, Black seafarers not only faced the danger of being sold, but they were also serving at a time when the status of Black people was possibly at its lowest ebb in terms of European perception. This reduced the likelihood of promotion for Black crewmen, regardless of what their social rank may formerly have been in their home countries.
In spite of these limitations, however, examples of individuals achieving respect and recognition on board ship and rising in rank can still be found. Black seamen may have had the necessary qualities as much as their white fellows, but their promotion could be affected by other factors.