The Scholar & The Sailor

film still of Greg White

The National Endowment for the Humanities has released this 9-minute film, featuring UNH history professor Jeff Bolster, about the power of the written word to change lives. Here’s the NEH lead in…

“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.”

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