The Egalitarian High Seas: Author Skip Finley to Discuss ‘Whaling Captains of Color’

Skip Finley, author of “Whaling Captains of Color: America’s First Meritocracy.”

The whaling industry, while a difficult one, was a uniquely egalitarian one in that men who plied the seas were paid according to their job title, rather than the color of their skin. On Thursday, February 18, at 11 a.m., author Skip Finley will discuss his book “Whaling Captains of Color: America’s First Meritocracy” in a Zoom presentation co-sponsored by the Rogers Memorial Library and the Southampton African American Museum.

Recently published by the Naval Institute Press, Finley’s book explores the social and legal conditions on land, which encouraged so many people of color, including some who sailed out of Sag Harbor, to brave the dangers of the sea. In researching his book, Finley visited the archives of whaling museums, libraries, private collections and conducted interviews with people whose ancestors were whaling masters.

The book has been praised as “a prodigious work of scholarship” as well as “an entertaining read.”

To register, visit or call 631-283-0774 extension 523.