Lorraine McConaghy is a public historian at Seattle’s Museum of History & Industry. She earned a Ph.D. in United States History at the University of Washington, and has taught, researched and published Pacific Northwest history for nearly thirty years. Recent publications include Warship Under Sail: USS Decatur in the Pacific West (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2009) and New Land North of the Columbia: Historic Documents that Tell the Story of Washington from Territory to Today (Seattle: Sasquatch Books, 2011). She and co-author Judy Bentley have a manuscript at UW Press, forthcoming in 2013, Free Boy: A True Story of Slave and Master on Puget Sound.
In the account below historian Lorraine McConaghy uses the story of black sailor Robert Shorter to indicate that while the Civil War freed nearly four million slaves, it also set in motion the status decline of antebellum African American seamen. The eleven years Robert Shorter … Read MoreEleven Years in the U.S. Navy: The Strange Saga of Robert Shorter