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Lunchtime Discovery: Freedmen, Surfmen, Heroes: Richard Etheridge and the Pea Island Lifesavers

  • Wednesday, February 28, 2024
  • 12:00pm - 1:00pm

Black surfman standing with a coiled rope in a boat named Pea Island.

Joan L. Collins, Director of Outreach and Education, Pea Island Preservation Society

The Pea Island Lifesaving Station on North Carolina’s Outer Banks is historically significant and distinctive, as it was the only lifesaving station in the United States to be manned by an all Black crew. Under the direction of Keeper Richard Etheridge, the crew was hired from local Black men in the community and they were trained to be dedicated and dependable watermen in the service of lifesaving. The men of Pea Island never received any awards for rescues no matter how many lives they saved. It wasn’t until 1996, 100 years after the heroic rescue of the crew of the E.S. Newman in 1896, that the US Coast Guard finally paid honor to the crew of the Pea Island Station. Joan Collins, a Freedmen Colony and Pea Island descendant, joins us to share how the Pea Island Preservation Society is telling this story and preserving this very important history.

Join us on YouTube!

Live Virtual Presentation hosted by NC Museum of Natural Sciences’ Coordinator of Current Science Programs Chris Smith and the NC Department of Environmental Quality Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs staff.

You can post questions in the YouTube chat or tweet questions to #LunchTimeDiscovery and mention @NorthCarolinaEE.

Brought to you by the NC DEQ Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs and the NC Museum of Natural Sciences.


February 28
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm


NC United States


Chris Smith