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Explore the Constellation

Oyster Knife



Black men from the Chesapeake and the Eastern Shore regions of Maryland have traditionally worked as oystermen. Knives like these are used to pry open oyster shells to remove the meat. Oystering was one of many trade skills African people brought with them and utilized during enslavement in the Americas. Many enslaved people ate oysters to supplement poor food rations given to them. The delicacy is still part of many African American food traditions, including raw oysters, oyster stew, oyster Po’ Boy sandwiches, fried oysters, and oyster dressing.