Resources Connecting and Supporting the Cape Verdean Diaspora Community
Thousands of Cape Verdeans call Massachusetts or Rhode Island home. They bring with them the Cape Verdean character of resiliency, courage, and spirit. Intensely loyal, these Cape Verdeans impact their homeland through education, technology, research, and more.
BSU’s Pedro Pires Institute for Cape Verdean Studies (PPICVS) supports their efforts to showcase the rich history and culture of the Republic of Cabo Verde in our region and beyond. PPICVS serves as a resource for all things Cape Verdean, advancing community engagement and, importantly, increasing global awareness for the citizens of Cabo Verde and the U.S. diaspora.
Nowhere is the rich culture of Cabo Verde more evident than in a museum setting. And, perhaps, nowhere is the opportunity greater for Cape Verdeans to engage with, record, and share the fullness of their stories.
The museums highlighted here feature a rich repository of artifacts. They offer Cape Verdeans the opportunity to share their experiences. And, importantly, they showcase significant contributions by Cape Verdeans in collaboration with the PPICVS, the Cape Cod Cape Verdean Museum and Cultural Center in East Falmouth, MA, the Cape Verdean Museum in Pawtucket RI, and the New Bedford Whaling Museum.
Cape Cod Cape Verdean Museum and Cultural Center, Falmouth MA
The Cape Cod Cape Verdean Museum and Cultural Center has a collection of over 1,000 artifacts celebrating Cape Verdeans’ rich history – photographs, books, musical instruments, art, historical documents, and more. Programs and rotating exhibitions focus on Cape Verdean history and culture. Cape Verdeans are encouraged to share their experiences and/or can share an idea for an exhibition by filling out the “Exhibition Submission Form” found on their website.
An exhibition by Carolyn King, ’23, showcases Cabo Verde’s rich maritime history and is displayed at the Falmouth Museum. King created the exhibition while an intern at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. Angelo Barbosa, director of the PPICVS, praises King’s project and the opportunity it gives the broader community to better understand the important contributions of Cabo Verde to maritime history. To learn more, visit:https://www.bridgew.edu/stories/2022/cape-connection.
Cape Cod Cape Verdean Museum and Cultural Center, 67 Davisville Rd., E. Falmouth MA 02536; 774-763-2916; capecodcvmuseum.org
Rhode Island Cape Verdean Museum, Pawtucket, RI
The Rhode Island Cape Verdean Museum displays artifacts, photographs, maps, crafts, and more. Multi-layered exhibits address slavery, whaling, maritime topics as well as Cape Verdean Independence. An extensive library of books and films is available for academic research.
The RI museum invites Cape Verdeans to share photographs, documents and memorabilia that speak to the history and culture of Cabo Verde.
Rhode Island Cape Verdean Museum, 617 Prospect St., Pawtucket, RI 02860 401-228-7292 capeverdeanmuseum.org
New Bedford Whaling Museum
In 2016, the New Bedford Whaling Museum, the City of New Bedford, and the Republic of Cabo Verde formed a partnership. The goal: to create exhibitions that highlight their shared cultural and historic past. The collaborations resulted in two exhibitions, one in São Vicente and the other in São Nicolau in the Republic of Cabo Verde. Among the loans and artifacts gifted by the Whaling Museum is a model of the schooner Ernestina. Both exhibitions tell the story of whaling in the mid-19th, early 20th centuries and the important role Cape Verdeans played in the global whaling industry.
New Bedford Museum, 18 Johnny Cake Hill, New Bedford, MA 02740 508-997-0046 https://www.whalingmuseum.org/exhibition/in-cabo-verde/
In the mid-19th century, whaling was big business in America. Occasionally, these whaling ships would moor off the shores of Cabo Verde. Looking to escape poverty, Cape Verdeans found work aboard the ships headed for New Bedford, the center of the industry and, at the time, one of the richest cities in the U.S.
In the early 20th century, the whaling industry was all but gone. On Cabo Verde, a severe drought and food shortage resulted in the death of 200,000-plus Cape Verdeans. Again, Cape Verdeans looked to America for work. More than enough was to be had on the Cranberry bogs on Cape Cod and Southeastern Massachusetts. Thousands of Cape Verdeans make up the Diaspora that call Southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island their home away from home.
From 1948 to 1965, the 156-foot-schooner Ernestina carried not only carries goods between Cabo Verde’s nine inhabited islands, but she also carried immigrants from Cabo Verde to the United States. The significance of Ernestina’s connection to Cabo Verde and the US cannot be overstated. Her connections with North America; her rich history with serving the people of Cabo Verde; her transatlantic voyages; her participation in the 1976 Bicentennial Parade of Sail in America. In 1982, Cabo Verde gifted the vessel to the United States. Today, the Ernestina is berthed at the Mass Maritime Academy, Buzzards Bay.*
*The above information was taken from the History of the Schooner Ernestina. To learn more, visit: https://www.ernestina.org/about/about-ernestina/history/
Local Cape Verdean Associations
To Cape Verdeans living in the diaspora, a vibrant community of like-minded people is everything. Its camaraderie. It’s a shared history, culture, and language. Local Cape Verdean associations offer Cape Verdeans that close sense of community.