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The Abundant Oyster

  • The Abundant Oyster – By the early twentieth century, Commercial Township was home to one of the largest oyster-harvesting industries in the world. Entire communities were built upon the wealth of Delaware Bay oysters. Over the course of the century, these communities shifted with changes in the industry and its labor force. African Americans, many of whom were recruited from the Chesapeake, gradually immigrated to this area to work as skilled oyster shuckers, schooner crew and captains, and dozens of other jobs in Port Norris, Bivalve, Shellpile, and beyond. In this exhibit, you will hear directly from African Americans and their fellow community members about life, work, and play in an oyster town.  Exhibit funding provided in part by New Jersey Council on the Humanities.


AO exhibit shuckers

Abundant Oyster exhibit 1

Abundant Oyster 2










This exhibition was made possible by a grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations in this exhibition do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.





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