African Americans and the Sea: A Complicated Relationship is Anthologized


  • Christian Loriel Lucas


The only way Frederick Douglass could escape enslavement and become a free human being was to be a seaman. In 1833, sailors could move freely about the country, no matter their skin color, as every seaman was vital to the 19th Century American maritime economy. I learned this during my conversation with Dr. David Anderson, editor of the forthcoming book, I Will Take to the Water: An Anthology of African Americans and the Sea. It is filled with sea-focused literature written by African Americans, from 18th-Century mariner-writer Olaudah Equiano, to contemporary poets like Kiki Petrosino and Lucille Clifton. Anderson, a professor at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, talked about his research process, his goals for the anthology, and his own ancestral connection to the sea.