News

Posted by OBMG Admin on Jan 22, 2017

 Captain Eldridge Meredith A Quintessential Chesapeake Bay Waterman By Vincent O. Leggett, Founder Blacks of the Chesapeake Foundation Annapolis, MD. 21403 December 15, 2016 Captain Eldridge Meredith, at the spritely age of 90, represents a link to the past and a bridge to the future for the fabled Chesapeake Bay wa­terman. He was born on February 23, 1926, and grew up in Chester, located on Kent Island, which sits on the Eastern Shore side of the Bay Bridge. He along with his six brothers and sisters attended Queen Anne’s County Public Schools. After his public school education, he helped his father crabbing and fishing on the Bay. Watermen are independent business men and their commitment to one of America’s most treasured natural resources earns them a measure of respect throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. African American watermen have been harvesting and sailing the Bay since first com­ing to its shores, but stories particular to their lives are not as well known. Bay watermen are resilient and adapt to challenges to their way of life, both socially, political­ly, environmentally and economically. When you think of the Chesapeake Bay, there’s nothing more iconic than a waterman on the water in his white workboat. As with other notably waterman on the Bay, Captain Meredith is a true waterman in lifestyle, not in a title, rank or fad. He does not glamour for the spotlight, he is just trying to eke out a living to better things for his family. He is amphibious by nature and operates very comfortable between land and the sea. Captain Mer­edith speaks the language of the sea, learned through an accumulation of experiences-using a wide variety of tools of the trade. He is independent and has found a home on the waters of the Bay. He shares a love of the estuary and of making a living by harvesting its waters. He was raised figuratively with brackish saltwater running through his veins and followed in the wake of his father, Captain Earl Meredith, and grandfather, Captain Richard Meredith becoming a quintessential Chesapeake Bay waterman. Captain Meredith’s histor­ical link to the past which goes back to the early1890’s and represents a collective family history on the bay as fisherman, oysterman, clammers, crabbers and boat builders on the Bay. Even in the days when segregation was the law of the land and the waterways in Maryland, there was a mutual respect and strength shown on the water that you did not find on the land. Captain Meredith remembers what the Bay was like in the 1930’s and 1940’s when his father would ship crabs to Baltimore for 2 cents per pound. Prior to the building of the first Bay Bridge, they would also haul scrap iron and metal to Baltimore in their boats to make money. He also remembers when there were approx­imately 12 oyster packing housing on Kent Narrows alone, employing hundreds of seafood workers. Captain Meredith’s fore parents were independent, knowledgeable of their trade and possessed a serious work ethic. Captain Meredith tells stories of his early days as a waterman harvesting the once plentiful bounty of crabs, oysters, clams and fish. Now, he must rely on the charter and head boat fishing business alone to earn a living. He discusses the dangers on the bay, his total commitment...

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OBMG Board Member Sean Carswell’s 2016 Summer Sea Term Blog

Posted by OBMG Admin on Aug 27, 2016

To assist the aims and purposes of colleges and universities; Brother Sean Carswell volunteered to serve as an Engineering Training Officer(ETO) and Watch Officer(WO) on the SUNY Maritime Summer Sea Term(SST) 2016 on the Training Ship Empire State(TSES) VI. He took part of the “A” section of the term that consisted of 45 days at sea. Ports of call included Norfolk, VA; Trieste, Italy; and Dublin, Ireland.                                                                                                   Brother Carswell in passageway between Lower Engine Room and Auxiliary Machinery Space As a professor at SUNY Maritime College Brother Carswell saw the need for greater diversity in educators of the cadets. He also wanted to make a difference in the students lives. To accomplish both, he offered his services and expertise to the student body by sailing with them on the SST. Haggan Board showing pressure and temperature of engine room vital equipment As a ETO, Brother Carswell taught 3rd Class(freshmen going into their sophomore year) on marine engineering principals. Subject included watch standing protocols, boilers, heat exchangers, combustion control and steam principals. This was done during a class room setting during the cadets class days. As an ETO, he developed course content, review material and test. All students successfully passed with an average test average of 86. He also conducted first class(juniors going into their senior year) qualifiers(Q’s) on auxiliary equipment. Q’s are required test mandated by the U.S. Coast Guard for graduating seniors to obtain their Third Assistant Engineering License of Unlimited Tonnage.                                                                                                        TSES VI passing two tankers in the Straights of Gibraltar   As a WO, he managed the cadets standing a routing four hour watch on their watch days. His primary goal was the sustainability of the plant during the watch, but allowing the cadets to actively engage and work the plant. During the watch, the cadets monitor all ship systems. Some of the systems include boiler operation, refrigeration, water generation and propulsion.  TSES VI tied up at dock in Trieste Italy Some of the things Brother Carswell did to affect the education received was to effectively petition for the increase in the quantity of rounds done per watch. He also created review sessions with material for students to study for exams. He changed the curriculum by breaking up the exam schedule from one final exam to having quizzes, a midterm exam and a final exam. Several students expressed in reactivating the National Society of Black Engineers chapter at SUNY Maritime College and asked him to assist in bring the chapter back and sit as the advisor.        Busy street in Dublin Ireland at the River Liffey                           Busy street in Dublin Ireland near Trinity College                                                                   Brother Carswell enjoying a pint of local brewed ale in Ireland                                Sunrise over the Mediterranean Ocean                                                                                                                                               ...

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O.B.M.G. joins forces with the American Professional Mariners Association(A.P.M.A.)

Posted by OBMG Admin on Feb 19, 2016

As stated in the last newsletter, the O.B.M.G. has partnered with the American Professional Mariners Association/www.americanmariners.org (A.P.M.A.) and the A.P.M.A. has agreed to give all our members that were in good standing for our 2014-2015 fiscal year, a free year’s membership. We are working with them to do the same for this fiscal year too. The A.P.M.A. will contact you by email and offer you the membership. (The APMA also will not sell your email address.) Basically, the O.B.M.G. and A.P.M.A. joined forces to fulfill our mutual goals to help individuals enter and find career success in the Maritime industry. One of the goals the O.B.M.G. has always had was to improve the education possibilities for African American and minority students by providing scholarships, financial assistance, mentoring, networking, professional development seminars and an education on the history and rich legacy of Blacks and Minorities in the maritime industry. The O.B.M.G.’s role has expanded to include community outreach, recruitment, industry and educational partnerships designed to increase minority participation in the Maritime industry both ashore and afloat. By partnering with the A.P.M.A., the O.B.M.G. will continue to meet our goal as we continue on. APMA Membership Will include Employee Pricing, Coastal Service Directory, Financial and Retirement Services, A Career Center, News and Connections, and a Mariners Marketplace....

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S.U.N.Y. Maritime President, Rear Admiral Michael A. Alfultis, PhD. visits Grand Bahamas

Posted by OBMG Admin on Nov 22, 2015

  Read about this historic visit of the S.U.N.Y. Maritime President, Rear Admiral Michael A. Alfultis, PhD., to the Bahamas. As reported in the “Freeport News”,(Grand Bahamas First Newspaper) dated Friday, November 20, 2015. Go directly to article at: http://freeport.nassauguardian.net/News/SUNY-s-president-makes-first-visit-to-GB...

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OBMG’s First Networking Social a Success

Posted by OBMG Admin on Jun 24, 2015

The O.B.M.G. would like to thank all those who took time out their busy schedule to come to our first Networking Social. More pictures of the event at http://www.obmg.org/obmg-networking-social/ The event reflected an eclectic group of supporters who came from near and far; past scholarship recipients, maritime industry, mass communication, and much more. There were twenty seven participants including six board members. The event went seamlessly, our board members networked effortlessly, everyone enjoyed themselves. We welcomed everyone and informed them about why they were chosen to be invited to this event. We appealed to the attendees to formally join the OBMG and work with us to build capacity through increasing membership, participating in our cyber mentoring program and strengthening our scholarship finances. We informed everyone that we are working toward establishing an scholarship endowment fund utilizing corporate sponsorships and matching donations as well as private donations, fund raising events and grants. We believe this strategy will move our organization in the right direction by continuing to use the OBMG as a catalyst for change through Education, Knowledge and Access. Board member Kevin Barrow spoke about the types of memberships available and handed out gift bags to attendees. Everyone did a great job of networking. OBMG Vice President Sean Carswell, along with other OBMG board members, look forward to continuing to build relationships with those who attended. Again, we thank all who attended and urge you stay involved with the OBMG! Capt. Robert Cook, OBMG...

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2015 SUNY Maritime College Cultural Club’s Black History Dinner

Posted by OBMG Admin on Mar 25, 2015

O.B.M.G. Vice President, Sean Carswell presented RADM Michael Alfultis, PH.D. with a plaque from the O.B.M.G.      Board member Capt. Kevin Barrow presented Capt. John DeCruz with plaque from the O.B.M.G. The O.B.M.G. also gave a way two books by author Willie Cooper. The author signed and donated both books to the college and RADM M. Afultis. PH.D.    If you would like to purchase any one of these books please go to: http://theforgottenlegacy.com/index.html The Citation awarded to O.B.M.G. by Eric L. Adams, President of the Borough of Brooklyn in August 2014, finally arrives in our...

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Veterans Day 2014

Posted by OBMG Admin on Nov 13, 2014

O.B.M.G. Participates in Veterans Day 2014 O.B.M.G. participated in the 2014 Veterans Day celebration in New York City. First, by attending the Mayor’s Veteran’s Recognition Breakfast, at The Prince George Ballroom followed by marching in the 95th Annual NYC Veterans Day Parade. We marched as guess of Mr. Ludger Balan’s CHE Nautical & Enviro Edutainment Production and the 26th Regiment of New York, United States Colored Troops Reenactors. It was a very exciting day. To see pictures of the parade and learn more about the 26th Regiment of New York, United States Colored Troops Reenactors visit their Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/604617856233679/photos/a.604913129537485.1073741828.604617856233679/967754043253390/?type=3&permPage=1 https://www.facebook.com/pages/New-York-Regiment-United-States-Colored-Troops-Reenactors-20th-26th-31st/604617856233679 To learn more about Che Nautical Edutainment visit these links: http://cheedutainment.wix.com/che-nautical#!__site https://www.facebook.com/pages/Captain-Hawkeye-RHChe-Nautical-Enviro-Edutainment/216585275039797?sk=info&tab=page_info...

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Captain Robert Cook and Captain Howard Wyche inducted into SUNY Maritime Heritage Hall

Posted by OBMG Admin on Nov 12, 2014

On October 25, 2014, at S.U.N.Y. Maritime College, on Homecoming Day, Captain Robert Cook ’80 and Captain Howard Wyche ‘79(co-founders of the O.B.M.G.), along with Captain Art Sulzer ’74, were inducted into the Maritime College Heritage Hall. The ceremony will took place at 10:30 AM in St. Mary’s Pentagon at Fort Schuyler. “Heritage Hall was created by the Class of October 1946 as a 50th reunion gift to the College. They wished to preserve the unique history of Maritime College, to honor those individuals whose dedication and significant contributions laid the foundation for the State University of New York Maritime College to become a world-class institution and to recognize outstanding alumni whose lives exemplify the leadership qualities which are the foundation of a SUNY Maritime College education.” Captain Cook and Captain Wyche are the first Black alumni to be inducted into the Heritage Hall. Maritime College President, RADM Michael Alfultis, USMS, Ph.D., chose Captain Cook and Captain Wyche, for induction into this esteemed group of individuals for their leadership and outstanding support of the College. As two of the original six co-founders, Captain Cook and Captain Wyche are proud to represent the dedicated members of the Organization of Black Maritime Graduates who give tirelessly of their time and money to the minority students and cadets at SUNY Maritime College. It is important for the Maritime College students of color to see the potential for their own success through the recognition of those of color who have preceded them. They thank Maritime College for making this a reality. Follow this link for pictures from this induction and  Homecoming 2014...

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Historical meeting of African American Professional Maritime Pilots takes place in Houston

Posted by OBMG Admin on Nov 7, 2014

On Monday, October 20, 2014, for the first time in the history in the United States of America a group of African American state licensed professional maritime pilots held a Celebration/Meet & Greet. It was the brainchild of Captain Eric Morman of the New Orleans-Baton Rouge Steamship Pilots Association (NOBRA) and it was held at the famous Vic & Anthony’s Steakhouse in Houston, Texas. On the eve of the start of the 2014 Biennial Convention of the American Pilots’ Association (APA) held in Houston, these African American pilots from around the U.S. met, some for the first time. Those present were Captain Eric Morman, NOBRA; Captain Kelvin Boston, NOBRA; Captain Lee Jackson, NOBRA; Captain Jared Austin, NOBRA; Captain Errol Williams, Cresent River Port Pilots; Captain David Manney, Galveston-Texas City Pilots; Captain Ken Jones, Houston Pilots; Captain James Hensley, Houston Pilots; and Captain Eric James, Captain Kevin Barrow, Captain Robert Cook and Captain Howard Wyche all from The Pilots’ Association for the Bay & River Delaware. Also, in attendance, were Mr. Sean Carswell, Marine Engineer and Mr. Sterling Pearson (Ret. Chief Engineer). Mr. Kenny Briggs, graduate school student/cadet and 3rd mate candidate from Texas Maritime was invited to attend this historic meeting too. Mr. Briggs will be the first African American to graduate from the Texas Maritime graduate degree program when he completes his degree. During the fabulous dinner that included a grand display of seafood appetizers, “the pinnacle of steaks” and delicious fresh fish, as well as a scrumptious selection of desserts, many stories were shared of the individual experiences that led these Captains to become ship pilots. Capt. Morman, Capt. James and Capt. Jones also presented framed pilot flags with their names as well as the Pilot association’s emblem they belong to, to Capt. J. Hensley and Capt. P. Brown of the Houston Pilots, Capt. K. Boston of NOBRA and Capt. R. Cook and Capt. H. Wyche of The Pilots’ Association for the Bay & River Delaware as a celebration of and tribute to these African American pilots with twenty or more years of service as state licensed professional maritime pilots. Many thanks were given to these senior African American pilots that took some of the younger ones under their wing and gave them the guidance and encouragement to become state licensed pilots too. A bond was made that night and a pledge to meet again at the next APA convention or within a two year period to break bread with each other, celebrate and share experiences. They will also seek out other African American state licensed professional maritime pilots in the U.S. and minority pilots from other countries, if possible, to join them in the future. The Organization of Black Maritime Graduates Inc. has also pledged to help these Black Pilots stay in contact with each other through their website www.OBMG.org. Please go to this link to see pictures of this historic event:...

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Jones Act Letter

Posted by OBMG Admin on Sep 30, 2014

[Your Name] [Street Address] [City, ST ZIP Code] [Date] “[Your Congressperson’s Full Name]” [Street Address] [City, ST ZIP Code] Re: Jones Act protection The Honorable”[Your Congressperson’s Full Name]” : I am a resident of your district, and I am writing you to reinforce our support of the American Merchant Marine laws and regulations that help protect our merchant marine. • Under U.S. domestic maritime laws, collectively known as the Jones Act, cargo transported between American ports must be carried on vessels that are owned by American citizens, built in U.S. shipyards, and operated under the U.S.-flag by U.S. citizen crews. • The Jones Act and its more than 40,000 vessels of all types provide critical economic benefits to our nation, ensuring that American companies and American crews will control the waterborne transportation of domestic cargo between American ports. • The domestic maritime industry is an economical form of transportation, moving more than 1 billion tons of cargo annually at a fraction of the cost of other modes of transportation. In fact, the domestic maritime industry transports approximately one-quarter of America’s domestic cargo for just 2 percent of the national freight bill. • Equally important, the domestic shipping industry is responsible for approximately 500,000 American jobs for workers engaged in the construction of vessels for the domestic trades in American shipyards, the operation of these vessels under the U.S.-flag by American merchant mariners, and in related service and supply industries. • Notably, the construction of vessels in the United States and the operation of vessels by American companies with American mariners under the Jones Act generate $11 billion in U.S. taxes. These corporate and individual tax revenues would be lost to the Federal government and to State and local taxing authorities if America’s domestic commerce were carried on foreign built and foreign owned vessels operated by foreign mariners. • If the Jones Act were repealed, the local jobs would be lost to foreign workers in foreign shipyards and related service and supply industries, and to foreign mariners. We cannot have America’s domestic commerce carried on foreign built and foreign crewed vessels. • Equally important, the construction of vessels in the United States and the operation of vessels by American companies with American mariners under the Jones Act generate $11 billion in U.S. taxes. These corporate and individual tax revenues would be lost to the Federal government and to State and local taxing authorities if America’s domestic commerce were carried on foreign built and foreign owned vessels operated by foreign mariners. • It would not only be ill-advised but also dangerous for our country to weaken or repeal the Jones Act and to dramatically reduce the number of American mariners available to operate the vessels needed to supply our troops overseas. Our country has an obligation to American troops and their families to support them by ensuring that the equipment, material and supplies that our troops need will be carried by American ships with American crews, and not left to the political or ideological whim of foreign vessels and foreign crews. It is of the utmost importance for you to ensure that the Jones Act remains intact and that we resist all efforts to weaken this vital cornerstone to our maritime regulations. We are counting on your support. [your name and...

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