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Black SaltSeafarers of African Descent on British Ships$
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Ray Costello

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9781846318184

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846317675

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(p.70) Chapter Five Blighty
Black Salt
Liverpool University Press

This chapter talks about the Black Loyalists. The increase in the employment of black sailors meant that those surviving the validities of the voyage would often set down in Britain's ports. Black mariners residing in England after 1772 gained from the case of James Somerset who was a fugitive black slave. After the Somerset decision, seamen of African descent benefitted in serving in the Royal Navy since they were frequently viewed as ‘prize negroes’. Fugitive African American mariners in England recieved small compensation from the Loyalist Claims Commission. The chapter looks at the growth of sailortown districts in Britain's major ports. Any toleration of minority seafarers was established on the perception of their transience. This toleration came about under pressure when seamen of African descent or from any of those ‘darker races’ strove to become part of a new maritime working class.

Keywords:   black sailors, Black Loyalists, employment, Britain's ports, James Somerset, black slave, Royal Navy, Loyalist Claims Commission, seafarers

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