Washington’s antebellum free black shipwright

Published 4:28 pm Thursday, October 11, 2018

From Historic Port of Washington Project

The Historic Port of Washington Project, along with the North Carolina Estuarium and Washington Waterfront Underground Railroad Museum, join forces in announcing a free “Hull Anderson” presentation to be held Saturday morning at the Estuarium.

Washington guest lecturers Ray Midgett and Leesa Jones invite the public, all ages, to learn more about Hull Anderson, believed to be Beaufort County’s first known successful African-American boat builder and businessman. The event will be free to the public with donations optional at the door.

The lecture comes on the heels of the recent October proclamation by the City of Washington signed by Mayor Mac Hodges, who recently established today as the city’s inaugural Hull Anderson Day. The new proclamation commemorates the date Oct 12, 1841, when Hull Anderson sailed with his family to the west coast of Africa.  Anderson relocated to Liberia as part of the American Colonization Society’s national movement to send enslaved people and others to Monrovia, Liberia, for freedom and a better life.

Midgett, HPOW’s president, said, “The Oct 13 multi-media presentation will be from 11 a.m. to noon at the waterfront NC Estuarium, and it’s a super, great opportunity for both local maritime history fans and for school children to learn something that’s just not in the history books. For most of us, Hull Anderson is a little known figure in NC’s maritime history, yet his life and times are of great significance historically and politically. Anderson really made his mark on the Washington waterfront, maybe one day he will even have his own historic marker.”

“Long before the Civil War Hull Anderson, through his hard work, a freed black slave came to own his own shipyard, and became a successful businessman and land owner. Between 1830 and 1841, he built many fine ship hulls for local and regional merchants. Surviving records show his business was located a stone’s throw from today’s old Highway 17 Tar-Pamlico bridge,” said Leesa Jones, Washington Waterfront Underground Railroad Museum founder.

Jones said, “Please join us Saturday morning as we introduce the public to the inspiring true story of Hull Anderson. We definitely want to get the word out to educators and grandparents to invite families with children and home-schooling parents. Our volunteers can guarantee we always entertain attendees of all ages in a fun and yet informative way.”

Auditorium seating is limited to 60 people. For more information, call the NC Estuarium at 252-948-0000 or visit the event link: