The Whaling Museum of New Bedford, MA presents the following information: African Americans have been a presence in New Bedford since its early days. Runaway and freed slaves were attracted by the Quaker majority's early (1716) opposition to slavery and the prospect of employment on whaleships. Free seamen from continental Africa, the Cape Verde Islands, and the Caribbean also became part of the African American heritage of New Bedford. Blacks served among the crews of whaleships before the American Revolution (1775-1783). Some were runaway slaves, like Crispus Attucks, who spent twenty years as a whaler and merchant seaman, before he was killed in the Boston Massacre (1775), or John Thompson from Maryland, who found safe haven on the New Bedford Bark Milwood on its 1842-1844 voyage. Others were free Africans or West Indians. It is known that more than 3,000 African-Americans served on New Bedford whalers between 1803 and 1860. However, after the turn of the twentieth century, Cape Verdeans became the backbone of the whaling industry. Although a number of African-Americans served as boatsteerers (harpooneers) and a few as mates (officers), they rarely rose to the post of captain. Absalom Boston, Pardon Cook, and Paul Cuffe were three notable African American whaling masters. There were also a few African American captains who went to sea with all-African American crews. They represented a small percentage of all whaling vessels. The toggle harpoon head developed in 1848 by Lewis Temple, an African American blacksmith in New Bedford, was the most successful of all harpoon designs. After the American Revolution (1750-1783), the northern states abolished slavery. Massachusetts took the step in 1780. New Bedford became an important stop on the "underground railway," a network of people opposed to slavery, who hid runaway slaves in homes and churches. Frederick Douglass found refuge in New Bedford from 1837-1841. He worked at Coffin's Wharf as a ship caulker before becoming a renowned abolitionist, orator, politician, and writer.