Free Lecture at the Deering Estate
In partnership with the Archaeological Society of Southern Florida, the Deering Estate presents a free lecture on the second Thursday of each month at 7:00 pm. The lecture on Thursday, November 9th is "Diving With a Purpose: The Search for the Slave Ship Guerrero & the Lost Tuskegee Airmen P-39," presented by Erik Denson.
The Spanish pirate ship Guerrero was wrecked December 19, 1827 near Key Largo, Florida while carrying 561 African people to be sold to plantation owners in Cuba. The Guerrero met its doom after the British Navy schooner, HMS Nimble, intercepted it while patrolling the waters near the Bahamas for illegal slavers. Diving With a Purpose (DWP), a volunteer maritime archaeology program that trains experienced divers, including youths, to become underwater archaeology advocates, partnered with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to document the wreck site.
During the middle years of World War II, Michigan was home to several African-American air combat units including many graduates of the Tuskegee pilot training program. Two Tuskegee Airmen plane wrecks were discovered in the Michigan area. One wreck was located in Lake Huron and the other in St. Clair River. In collaboration with NOAA, a 2015 mission in 2015 concentrated on the Lake Huron wreck flown by 2nd Lt. Frank H. Moody. The aircraft was discovered on April 11, 2014, seventy years to the day of the accident.
Through the Diving With a Purpose (DWP) program, divers are able to assist in the historical documentation and preservation of artifacts and wreck sites. DWP has accumulated over 15,000 volunteer hours in Biscayne National Park and National Marine Sanctuaries and documented multiple shipwrecks, including 18th & 19th century sailing vessels and WWII aircraft. Two noteworthy expeditions include the Slave Ship Guerrero and the Tuskegee Airmen P-39 aircraft.
Erik C. Denson is co-founder and President of DIVERSe Orlando, a National Association of Black Scuba Divers (NABS) affiliate. Erik has been a certified diver since 1992 and logged over 800 dives worldwide. Erik is a PADI Divemaster and a member of the NABS Hall of Fame. Mr. Denson is a lead instructor for the Diving With a Purpose (DWP) Maritime Archaeology Program. He holds Nautical Archaeology Society (NAS) Certificates and a PADI Specialty in Underwater Archeology. Erik is a NABS Foundation Scientific Diver and a volunteer diver for the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Park Service (NPS). Over the last 11 years, Erik has assisted in training over 200 divers to become advocate underwater archaeologists. Mr. Denson holds Bachelors and Masters of Science Degrees in Electrical Engineering and is currently the Electrical Chief Engineer for NASA at the Kennedy Space Center.
About the Archaeological Society of Southern Florida
The Archaeological Society of Southern Florida (ASSF) was established in 1949. The ASSF operates as a non-profit, volunteer organization which acts as a support mechanism for the office of the Miami-Dade County Archaeologist, serves as a focal point for local archaeology enthusiasts and professionals in the field, and helps to promote knowledge and appreciation of native archaeological and historical sites in the South Florida area.
About the Deering Estate
The 450+ acre Deering Estate is an environmental, archaeological and historical preserve. From canoe tours to butterfly walks and guided Historic House & Natural Areas tours, the Deering Estate has diverse activities for the whole family to enjoy. The Estate is part of the Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Space Department, which manages the Estate on behalf of the State of Florida. Discover More art, culture, history, science, preservation, conservation and ecology at the Deering Estate today!
16701 SW 72 Avenue
305-235-1668 ext. 233