Slave Ship Research - Slave Ship Guerrero

Everyone has heard the story of the Henrietta Marie. Located just off the eastern coast of Florida it is one of only two sunken slave ships every documented. The National Association of Black SCUBA Divers (NABS) made national news in 1992 when a plaque was placed on the wreck site to document the significance of the Henrietta Marie’s discovery. As a result of that event a new consciousness arose about the number of undiscovered and undocumented slave ships that lie among the thousands of wrecks scattered along this leg of the Middle Passage used for centuries to transport human cargo. The memories of those shackled and forgotten souls that perished in the reef thousands of miles from their African homes are about to be resurrected with the help of ‘The Guerrero Project’ and a growing number of volunteers eager to rewrite history.

The Guerrero Project documents the search for a 19th-century Spanish ship that wrecked on a reef while illegally transporting 561 African slaves. Many believe the Guerrero rests somewhere in Florida’s Biscayne National Park, but its wreckage has so far eluded both park rangers and the treasure-hunting community. Those who search for ship wrecks tend to follow the gold. The rich African history associated with the Guerrero and other slave ships fail to justify the expense for those in search of material wealth. Sunken slave ships and their remains of human cargo, chains and shackles have waited centuries for their African-American ancestors to put on SCUBA gear, drop below the wet surface of time, reach out and touch their lost and forgotten souls lying beneath the sand on the ocean floor.

Kenneth Stewart, a copy machine repairman from Nashville, Tennessee and a NABS member, came across a film in 2004 called ‘The Guerrero Project’ and the rest, as they say, is history. He formed an alliance with the archeologists/filmmakers and each year he leads a group of volunteer divers at their own expense to Biscayne National Park as part of a program to get divers certified in underwater archeology and assist in the annual archeological mapping of the national park waters where the Guerrero is believed to rest.

Last Updated (Friday, 03 December 2010 17:55)