Hidden History

Hidden History, produced by WCAI Morning Edition co-host Brian Morris, focuses on lesser-known historic events, places and people from around Cape Cod, the Islands and the South Coast.

You can hear Hidden History during every other Monday during Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

Have a great idea for a Hidden History story? Send Brian Morris an email.

Chester Harding

During the golden age of whaling in the 19th century, more that 170,000 people signed on for whaling voyages aboard hundreds of vessels. What’s not as well-known is that more than 60 whaling captains were black.

Martha’s Vineyard resident Skip Finley is writing a book that explores the history of black whaling captains.

Brian Morris/WCAI

The unadorned structure on Provincetown’s Main Street is set back from the galleries, cafes and shops along the popular thoroughfare. For the past century, this nondescript grey-shingled building has been home to the Beachcombers Club – an informal gathering spot for many of the country’s most famous creative types.

Whitfield-Manjiro Friendship Society

In 1841, a 14-year old Japanese boy named Manjiro and four others set out on a fishing trip. After getting caught in a fierce storm, their boat lost its mast, stranding the boys on a remote island where they survived – barely – for six months.

Chatham Historical Society

In May, 1915, a German U-boat sank the ocean liner Lusitania, killing almost 1,200 people and causing great alarm throughout the U-S shipping industry, where vessels were suddenly vulnerable up and down the Atlantic seaboard. The government responded by setting up a series of air stations along the east coast to defend against the growing threat. One of these facilities was built on a flat, 20-acre site in North Chatham.

New Bedford Whaling Museum

The 19th century was a time of numerous rebellions in Ireland, most of them unsuccessful. Many Irish rebels were taken prisoner and sent by their British captors to the notoriously squalid Fremantle Prison in Australia – a fate regarded as essentially a death sentence.