CAUGHT BETWEEN THE LION AND THE SEA: THE PEA ISLAND LIFESAVERS, 1900-1947
Professor Wright is the author of Fire on the Beach: Recovering the Lost Story of Richard Etheridge and the Pea Island Lifesavers (Scribner, 2001). During his Center appointment, he will complete work on Caught Between a Lion and the Sea: The Pea Island Lifesavers, 1900-1947, the second volume of his two-volume narrative history. From 1880, at the dawn of the era of Jim Crow segregation, until 1947, when all such stations were discontinued, the African-American “surfmen” of the Pea Island Coast Guard Station selflessly rescued shipwrecked mariners off the Atlantic coast, saving the lives of people who, in other circumstances, would likely have shunned them because of the color of their skin. Caught will reconstruct the story of the forgotten lifesavers in the twentieth century as a way to tell the story of the “New South.” Whereas Fire chronicled the black experience of hope turned to bitter disappointment in the post-Reconstruction era, Caught will investigate the vicissitudes, trials, and triumphs of black life in a nation firmly committed to Jim Crow.