Harbor of Hope (8–12)

Grades 8–12

Pre-Visit Activities  |  Program Explanation & Notes (pdf)  |  Key Terms & Concepts (pdf)


New Bedford’s successful whaling industry led to a society that was prosperous, diverse and mobile. Economic opportunities abounded and Quakers, free people of color, former slaves, Azoreans, Cape Verdeans and other immigrant groups seized the chance to achieve wealth and prominence both on shore and at sea. This program explores the social relationships forged by the nineteenth century’s booming whaling industry, focusing particularly on the experiences of African Americans, Cape Verdeans and Azoreans in New Bedford.

Learning standards will be met, as students:

  • Understand the relationship between New Bedford’s economy and its social structure
  • Explore the contributions that different social groups made to the advancement of the whaling industry
  • Investigate the evolution of the abolitionist movement in New Bedford
  • Discuss the experiences that Quakers, Azoreans, Cape Verdeans and other immigrant groups had when they relocated to New Bedford


Suggested Pre-Visit Activities

Research the following figures: Frederick Douglass, Paul Cuffe, John Mashow, and Antone L. Sylvia
Who were they? What did they achieve while in New Bedford? How did the socioeconomic climate of New Bedford compare to other areas in the United States in the 19th century? Why?

New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park offers an Underground Railroad walking tour.