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Seafarers of Anacostia

A film by Joor Baruah

The Film | Seafarers of Anacostia

A Feature Length Documentary Film

An African American woodcarver and a vocational arts teacher aspired to own a boat and a place to dock it. After a long struggle, a marshy piece of land was rented to him at the Anacostia River in 1945. Thus, the first African American Yacht club, Seafarers Yacht Club (SYC) was born by the beautiful river Anacostia. Anchored near the confluence of rivers - Anacostia and Potomac, the resilient Seafarers of Anacostia have lived through social and environmental inequalities and injustices. The city’s sewage dumped into their river for generations has contributed to massive siltation, limiting their use of the river. The historical ‘redlining’ and the present-day gentrification have changed the fabric of their communities, often displacing them from their homes. The indignity of not granting them a long-term lease of their land despite their heritage, echoes continued racial injustices. All this unfolding right near the world’s epicenter of power - The White House. Woven with chronicles of seafaring tales and voyages through a liminal lens of river traditions, this story is an exploration of this valiant dream that reconstructed narratives of that time and anchored a resilient sense of belonging for the future.

TRAILER | Coming soon

Seafarers of Anacostia

Film Visuals


Seafarers Yacht Club (SYC) of Washington DC


Commodore Captain 'Tony' Ford

"The Seafarers Yacht Club, organized in 1945 as the Seafarers Boat Club, and is the oldest African American yacht club in the United States. The clubhouse is located on the Anacostia River north of the John Philip Sousa Bridge (Pennsylvania Avenue, SE) and just south of the CSX Railroad bridge (across from the skating rink in Anacostia Park). The Seafarers Club was organized by Lewis T. Green, Sr., a wood carver and vocational arts teacher in the DC Public Schools. Green built boats as a hobby, and in his search for a place to dock one of his boats, he contacted the Department of the Interior about this site. Told that he should establish a boat club, he did so, but waited in vain for a response from the government. Eventually, with the help of Mary McLeod Bethune and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, he was able to rent the land for the club. The site originally was called Green's Boat Yard, and club members improved the marshy land and built docks and a clubhouse.

The club soon developed a commitment to boating safety and community service. In 1965 the club merged with the D.C. Mariners Boat Club. In 1985 the group began the Seafarers Yacht Club Annual Cleanup, which has grown into the annual Anacostia River Cleanup Day held each spring".

Captain Charles 'Bob' Martin

An Inspiration 


Captain Charles''Bob' Martin

We pray that his soul rests in peace.

Charle ‘Bob’ Martin grew up  in the 1940s with a dream to rent a boat and explore the Anacostia river. However, the predominantly white boat owners never rented him one.

Lewis T Green, who pursued a similar dream somehow managed to procure a marshy  corner piece of land in 1945 to dock his boat and thus the Seafarers Boat Club was born. Bob Martin became a member of the club, led the effort to construct the club house and ensured that the Seafarers Yacht Club was there to stay. His invaluable contribution to the Seafaring community of the Anacostia river is recognized and respected by all.

Bob Martin’s resilience will continue to inspire forever.

Archival Visuals

A prequel to Seafarers of Anacostia

The Voyage


Chairperson Captain Jennifer Hooker 

Lewis T Green Sr., an African American woodcarver and a vocational arts teacher aspired to own a boat and a place to dock it. After a long struggle to defy all odds, and with the support of Mary McLeod Bethune and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, a marshy piece of land was rented to him at the Anacostia River in 1945. Thus, the first African American boat club, now the Seafarers Yacht Club (SYC) was born.

Captain Jennifer Hooker grew up in the southern state of Louisiana amidst segregation and the civil rights movement. Her life’s journey and her quest for social justice, brought her to Washington DC, where she discovered SYC and is now the first woman chairperson of the board of directors of the club. While DC has helped heal some of her trauma of growing up in Louisiana, she realizes that there is still a long road ahead to equality.

Voyaging through Anacostia, and over conversations with Jennifer - this film portrays the resilience of the seafarers amidst challenges on land, water and identity.




Director, Cinematographer

Joor Baruah is interested in using documentary, films, visual art and music for social change. He has an M.A. (socdoc, Documentary Filmmaking) Univ. of California, Santa Cruz. He is also an Associate Film Fellow at the Investigative Reporting Program (IRP), School of Journalism, Univ. of California, Berkeley. His film Adi | At The Confluence has also been workshopped at the PBS POV Digital Lab. His film Voice of Siang is a feature-length documentary commissioned by PSBT. Baruah is inspired by the folk songs of his mother Kavita Baruah; the spirit of his father Upendra Kumar Baruah, who was a part of the civil rights movement in Chicago alongside Martin Luther King and authored 'Portrait of a Gandhian - Biography of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.).; and the creative genius of his legendary uncle Dr. Bhupen Hazarika.



Contributing Cinematographer

Jonathan Isaac Jackson is a New Orleanian filmmaker and Managing Partner at The Colored Section. His first feature documentary, “Big Chief, Black Hawk”, has been nominated for Best Documentary by American Black Film Festival (2021) and the Black Reel Awards (2022), and was named the top Hollywood South film of 2021 by Jonathan is currently pursuing his MFA in Film at Vermont College of Fine Arts, and continues to work on creating a cinematic language that can continue to bring the African Diaspora together by highlighting the celebrations of black communities as a connection to their ancestors as he continues his studies as a student of cinema.

David Rosberg-Portrait.crop.jpg


Contributing Cinematographer

David Rosberg is film editor and producer working primarily on documentaries, arts projects, educational videos, and local community events in the San Francisco Bay Area. David has an MFA in Film from California College of the Arts, and a BFA in Art and Painting from University of California at Santa Cruz.

David has exhibited his installation work and paintings in Europe and in SF Bay Area galleries; created philanthropic video projects for endangered primate sanctuaries in Kenya and Uganda; lived in community in rural Wales working on a project for empowering single mothers and children; worked as a chef in London using natural food for his preparations; worked as a play therapist for children with autism. David is also a student and practitioner of meditation and Buddhist psychology.



Original Score

Robert V. Lampkin is an award-winning film and media composer based in Atlanta, Georgia. His unique approach to orchestral scoring has brought him international recognition, with 6 of his pieces being recognized finalists in international competitions. Whilst regularly using his global music background, his inspirations often come from the likes of John Powell, Quincy Jones, Arturo Sandoval, and John Williams, among others.

Working Visuals


We would love to hear from you!

Do you know the Seafarers Yacht Club (SYC) of Washington DC or its members? Are you a member of SYC or know someone from SYC? If yes, and if SYC has influenced you in some way, we’d love to hear your stories. With your permission, we might include your story in the documentary or website. 

Ask us questions, tell us your story, or if you’re interested in donating or investing in our project, please send us a message.




© ethos productions

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