SATURDAY, OCTOBER 21 12-1:30 pm
The eleven light stations of Southeastern Virginia covered in this book reflect a broader history of Virginia and the United States. Starting with Alexander Hamilton and the young republic this story meanders through the American Civil War, Reconstruction, the Second World War and beyond. The keepers themselves, were mostly white, males from Virginia or North Carolina. However, the caretakers also included immigrants, women, and former slaves. For almost two centuries, these stalwarts maintained these beacons that guided vessels through the deceptively hazardous waters in and around Hampton Roads. They also rescued those in peril. Far from being isolated, their collective lives were intertwined with the events and innovations that shaped the nation.
Benn Trask is a retired history teacher with more than twenty years of experience in the classroom. He holds a BA in education and a MA in history, both from Virginia Tech. After serving as a communications officer in the United States Marines Corps, he returned to his studies to earn MSLS in library science from the University of North Carolina. Prior to teaching, he was the librarian and a curator at The Mariners’ Museum in Newport News.
His publications and exhibitions involve yellow fever, the American Civil War, African American maritime culture and nautical history. For seven seasons, he has worked as a deckhand and narrator on the Miss Hampton II harbor cruise boat. A Navy brat and a resident of Hampton, he enjoys exercising, origami and of course, history road trips.
For nearly two centuries, the beacons of light stations guided vessels through the deceptively hazardous waters in and around Hampton Roads. Eleven light stations have dotted the southeastern coast of Virginia since the days of the early republic.