On Shore Opportunities

Men who disembarked in Northern American ports coped in different ways with racial stigma. Some foreign-born whalemen, particularly Azoreans, Anglicized their names and married white women. Other foreign-born sailors from islands in the South Pacific settled in African American communities. Some Native Americans took advantage of the growing popularity of traditional crafts and carved "whalebone and other articles for sale after their return" from the sea.

At least a handful of individuals of color never had to leave shore to benefit from opportunities in whaling. Lewis Temple, an African American blacksmith with a shop on the New Bedford waterfront, invented the toggle harpoon. His son became a respected businessman. John Mashow, a black shipbuilder, built his first whaleship in Dartmouth, Massachusetts and went on to become one of the most well-respected craftsmen in the business. He held shares in seven of the ships that he built and amassed a comfortable fortune.

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Martha's Vineyard Museum