The North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island will honor the first all African-American crew of the lifesaving service on Pea Island’s lifesaving station at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5.
The community celebration will honor the life of Richard Etheridge, the keeper of the first all African-American Coast Guard Lifesaving station, whose burial site was rediscovered from 40 years ago during the construction of the aquarium. The lifesaving station operated from 1878 to 1947, and Etheridge ran as its keeper from 1880 to 1900.
The restored burial site also contains the plots of some Etheridge’s family members.
One of the crew’s most notable moments was the rescue of the crew of the E.S. Newman during a hurricane in 1896. The 120th anniversary of the rescue will be honored at this week’s event with a rededication ceremony at a redesigned memorial site.
Speakers at the event include retired Coast Guard Rear Adm. Stephen Rochon, who initiated a posthumous award for the lifesaving crew; Virginia Tillett, former member of the Dare County Board of Commissioners and the county’s board of education; and Darrell Collins, a National Park Service historian.
The ceremony will be held outside of the aquarium, near the front entrance. Guests can stop by at 3 p.m. to learn about the celebration.
The Pea Island Cookhouse Museum in Manteo will also be open from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 4 as part of the event.