Living History, Cultural Enrichment and Environmental Learning
African Heritage Mariners- Youth Engagement in Living History
CHE N&EE in collaboration with UDEC
Presents the Living History of
African Heritage Mariners
at Harlem River Revival & Family Day
Isaac Myers, mariner, labor leader and mason.
Myers worked as a porter and shipping clerk for agrocer and then returned to his original profession as a caulker. Myers found himself unexpectedly unemployed whena group of white caulkers protested the employment of black caulkersand longshoremen. In response to the strike, Myers proposed thecreation of a union for black caulkers.The newly created union, the Colored Caulkers Trade Union Society,decided to form a cooperative company that would own a shipyard andrailroad. Pooling their resources the workers issued stock and quicklyraised $10,000 in subscriptions among black residents. They alsoborrowed another $30,000 and on February 12, 1866, they purchased ashipyard and railway which they named the Chesapeake Marine Railwayand Dry Dock Company. Within months the cooperative employed 300 blackcaulkers and received several government contracts. Ultimately itemployed a number of white workers as well.