Black Salt: Britain’s Black sailors reveals the contribution Black seafarers have made to some of the most significant maritime events of the past 500 years.
The exhibition is based on the book ‘Black Salt: Seafarers of African Descent on British Ships’ by historian Ray Costello. It combines personal stories, historic data, objects and memorabilia to chart a course through the often troubled waters of Britain’s maritime past and explore the work of Black sailors. Historically overlooked, Black Salt shows how Black seafarers contended with the dangers and hazards of life at sea, and challenged inequality on board and ashore.
Liverpool sailors featured in the exhibition include Joseph Gibson, who served in the merchant navy and fought in the First World War, and generations of both the Quarless and Savage families. Their experiences are told through personal items including service books and medals.
The Black seafaring experience is brought up to date with a display about current sailors including a profile on Belinda Bennett, who in 2016 became the first Black female captain working in the cruise industry.