Wed, May 22, 2024 | 6:00 pm

Berwick Public Library

On August 1, 1819, a majestic Maine-built ship docked at Boston's Long Wharf, completing a nearly year-long voyage to West Africa and the West Indies that only a few crew members were fortunate enough to survive. When customs officials descended into the hold to examine the precious cargo for which so many had died, what they found instead were clouds of mosquitoes playing host to a deadly yellow fever virus. This dramatic story features a prominent Yankee sea captain, a tragedy on the high seas, a viral outbreak, a major political cover up, and a conspiracy of silence that has lasted two centuries surrounding New England's involvement in the slave trade. Following these historical threads into the present day allows us to consider the ways in which our region's suppressed history of complicity in slavery relates to our current national conversations about racial justice and healing.