New London Maritime Society

2020 Reid MacCluggage

Black Maritime History Scholarship

Attention: High School Juniors & Seniors
Write an essay, short story, poem, play, movie script or
Novella about the African-American experience in the
maritime world for the chance to win a $1000
New London Maritime Society scholarship!
The Reid MacCluggage Black Maritime History Award was established to foster an awareness of the experience of African-Americans in the context of maritime history. It honors the commitment of Reid MacCluggage, the editor and publisher of The Day newspaper from 1984-2001, to the development of multicultural awareness and excellent writing skills in students.
Due date:Saturday , February 29, 2020
Eligibility:  You must be a JUNIOR or SENIOR in good standing at one of the following high schools to qualify: East Lyme, Grasso Tech., Fisher's Island, Fitch, Griswold, Ledyard, Lyme-Old Lyme, Montville, New London, NFA, Norwich Regional Tech., St. Bernard's, Stonington, Williams School, Waterford, Wheeler.
FormatYou may enter an original essay, short story, novella, play, movie script or poem based on the theme: the   African-American experience in the maritime world. There are no restrictions on the length or scope of your piece, but all entries must be typed and include a complete list of all primary and secondary research sources. Additionally, each entry must be accompanied by a cover page, stating the student's name, address and telephone number, as well as the name of the high school he or she attends, and a brief abstract describing the intent/content of the piece.  
Due Date: All entries must be received at the Custom House Maritime Museum , 150 Bank Street , New London , CT   06320 , by 5:00 pm on Satur day, February 29, 2020 .  
If you mail your entry, it must be postmarked no later than Saturday, February 29, 2020 .  
Send to: New London Maritime Society, Reid MacCluggage Scholarship, 150 Bank Street, New London CT 06320. 
Awards: Following review by a panel of distinguished judges from the community, a scholarship of $1000 will be awarded for the most outstanding entry . The winner will be contacted directly, and will receive the awards at his or her high school awards night.
Contact If you have any questions, please contact Susan at the Custom House Maritime Museum, 860-447-8700 or email her at
We invite students to start their research at the New London Maritime Society's Frank L. McGuire Maritime Research Library, which contains books and manuscripts on topics related to black maritime history, the Amistad incident , and many aspects of local maritime history.  Please call 860-447-2501 to make a reservation to work in the NLMS library. 
In 1839, New London and its U.S. Custom House, now the Custom House Maritime Museum, played a small but significant role in the abolition of slavery in the United States--in particular, in the story of the Amistad
As you may be aware, the original La Amistad was a Cuban ship that sailed from Havana in 1839 on the voyage that gave rise to the famous U.S. Supreme Court case - the first such case to set African captives free. 
It was in New London where an early important step towards setting the captives free was taken. New London is the only American port to which the original La Amistad ever sailed, New London is where abolitionist Dwight Janes first sounded the alarm in defense of the ship's captives, and it was at New London's U.S. Custom House where, ultimately, the ship & its cargo were auctioned off after the conclusion of the trial. One hundred and seventy five years ago this January, the Amistad Africans returned to Sierra Leone.

Today at the Custom House, we tell the Amistad story with the permanent exhibition Amistad: A True Story of Freedom, and with special programs. The Custom House Maritime Museum is both a Connecticut Freedom Trail site and one of two Connecticut sites on the national Underground Railroad Network to Freedom.

The Custom House Maritime Museum - open year-round - telling the stories of New London's waterfront!

The Custom House Maritime Museum is always FREE for current members
and children 14 and under (with adult). A $7 donation is asked for all others.
We're open Wednesday through Sunday, from 1-5 PM, & by appointment
call: 860-447-2501, email:
New London Maritime Society
Custom House Maritime Museum
150 Bank Street
New London, Connecticut 06320