Captain Carroll Curry, one of the first Black captains of a menhaden boat on The Northern Neck, started out fishing by hand nets, with chantey singers helping to ease the physical toll of hauling the nets that had tons of fish in them; the hands of Black men pulling the nets for White men’s boats.
“Carroll Curry is one of a few Northern Neck African-Americans who rose to the rank of captain on a menhaden steamer. He grew up in Northumberland County, near Kilmarnock, one of 19 children.
He worked in the fishing industry for 55 years before retiring as a captain of the John S. Dempster Jr. Although not many African-Americans have made it to captain, the industry has provided an avenue for some to succeed.
“From my experience living around here, you could make more money fishing than anything else,” he said. “No way I could have made the money I have on the water by working on land.”
Curry paved the way for other African-Americans in the business and is highly respected by the industry as a former menhaden captain and as one of the better captains in the era that he fished.”
Captain Carroll Curry of Ditchley
Source: Kit Oliynyk, July 25, 2013 Faces of the Menhaden
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