Urban Divers Take Virtual History Tour On the Road

BROOKLYN — The Urban Divers Estuary Conservancy, which held its Annual Black History Month Nautical Exposition tour at Brooklyn Historical Society earlier this month, will take the same program to Gould Memorial Hall at Bronx Community College on Tuesday, Feb. 28.

The Urban Divers Estuary Conservancy, or Urban Divers for short, is an environmental and cultural organization committed to active participation in the restoration, revitalization and protection of the metropolitan area’s coastal resources. The Urban Divers have been active in cleanup efforts for the Gowanus Canal and Coney Island Creek. The organization also sponsors the EnviroMedia Mobile, a mobile nature and nautical museum on wheels, which frequently provides family programming in Red Hook.

The group’s nautical living-history exposition, which takes the form of a virtual sail from the Hudson River to the Chesapeake Bay, takes visitors on a time-traveling journey that offers a fresh perspective on colonial America. The program also celebrates the contributions and accomplishments of various African-American seafarers of the American Revolutionary era.

The program resurrects Crispus Attucks, an African-American merchant seaman who was the first American to have been shot to death by British redcoats in the Boston Massacre of 1773. Attucks, another sailor and a Native-American female of the colonial era become tour guides in this unique virtual séance presented by the Urban Dredgers.

Through the performance, spectators can learn about other prominent African-American colonial figures who helped shape the American experience, such as Benjamin Banneker, Jean Jacques Dessaline, Toussaint Loverture and others.

In a scenic setting at a “colonial tavern,” visitors can learn about nuts harvested on “Paggank” (Governors Island) and the strife caused by higher taxes on tea, or a get a taste of Atlantic sturgeon.

At another exhibit at a “merchant’s quarter,” visitors can learn about the natural resources that were the commodities of the era, and how, in the words of Attucks, “Our social and political attitudes in the management, conservation, distribution and commerce of these natural resources, were causes of our many wars.”

The program is part of a month-long exposition tour with exhibits and presentations that have appeared at various schools and institutions in Brooklyn and the Bronx. The program’s ongoing wall exhibition is on view at 1 Jay St. at MetroTech Center, second-floor gallery, until Feb. 28.

To learn more about Urban Divers Estuary Conservancy programs, visit, or call (347) 224-5828.

February 22, 2012 - 5:25pm



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