Behind the Apron: The History, Life, and Hidden Achievements of Southern Maryland's Black Oyster and Clam Workers 1997
Anacostia Community Museum
1 linear feet
12 audio cassette sound recordings
Oral histories (document genres)
African Americans have been an integral part of Southern's Maryland's proud commerical fishing industry. Nowhere has their contribution been more prominent than in the seaford houses along the Patuxent River. Until most recentely, in Calvert and other neighboring counties, the function of shucking oysters and clams was almost exlusively performed by African Americans. Black oyster and clam workers have brought dignity, skill, and a strong sense of community to a job that industry outsiders often consider "dirty work."
Behind the Apron oral history project documents the experiences of Black oyster and clam workers in Southern Maryland. The audio interviews were conducted by Shelia Montague Parker in 1997. The interviewees include: Doris Harris, Conroy Butler, Mary Hawkins, Christine Gray, Blondell Mason, Mary Washington, Ruth Smith, and Wiliam Bourne. The interviews explore issues such as: the connection between land and water, between farming and the fishing industry; the communal spirit and camaraderie amongst oyster workers; the experience of women oyster workers; and the changes in the oyster packing industry resulting in a diminshed African American workforce.
Behind the Apron oral history project, Anacostia Community Museum Archives, Smithsonian Institution