The Scholar & The Sailor

March 19, 2014

Washington, DC, native Greg White had always wanted to become a sailor, but after being arrested and sent to a maximum security prison for armed robbery his dream never felt so far away. While serving his 22-year prison sentence, Greg frequently turned to literature as a source of strength and inspiration. During one 18-month stint in solitary confinement, Greg read a book that resonated deeply with his long-held childhood dream to become a sailor. The book, Black Jacks: African American Seamen in the Age of Sail, told a historical narrative of African Americans reclaiming their sense of freedom as merchant mariners on the high seas at the turn of the 19th century. White’s ensuing correspondence with the book’s author “Dr. Jeff Bolster, a maritime historian and professor at the University of New Hampshire” would prove to be a transformative experience for both men. Through Greg and Jeff’s story, The Scholar & The Sailor reminds us of the power of scholarship, history, and the written word to leave a meaningful and lasting impact on individual lives. This short film features past Living Classrooms employee Greg White and one of our vessels, Mildred Belle. Click here to watch: