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Eastern Illinois University

Atlantic history

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The Royal Navy's Employment Of Black Mariners And Maritime Workers, 1754-1783, Charles Foy Jan 2016

The Royal Navy's Employment Of Black Mariners And Maritime Workers, 1754-1783, Charles Foy

Faculty Research & Creative Activity

The Royal Navy has been portrayed as an institution that embodied liberty, regularlyemploying and relying upon blacks to keep its vessels afloat and to implement Britain'sblue water policy. Despite the critical role black naval seamen played, their employmentwas shaped more by regional practices than by Admiralty edicts. The result was that blackswere often treated inequitably. Black seamen had less access to pension benefits andwere not promoted in the same numbers as working-class white seamen. In England andNew York, blacks were largely kept out of royal dockyards and received less favourablecompensation than whites. In contrast, while blacks were employed in ...