Benn Trask has more than twenty years of teaching experience, mostly as a middle-school history teacher. He holds an undergraduate degree in education and a master’s degree in history, both from Virginia Tech. Following Virginia Tech, he served as a communications officer in the Marine Corps. In 1987, he returned to graduate school, earning a master’s degree in library science from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
Prior to teaching, he was the librarian and a curator at The Mariners’ Museum in Newport News. His exhibits, presentations and publications revolve around yellow fever, the American Civil War, maritime affairs, and African American history. From 2013 to 2021, he worked as a deckhand and narrator on the Miss Hampton II harbor cruise boat. On this floating classroom, he shared with visitors the story of five light stations in the Hampton Roads area.
He’s currently writing a book for the History Press on 11 lighthouses of southeastern Virginia. The book will include information on some of the African American keepers in Virginia, and Benn is also writing an article on that topic for the U.S. Lighthouse Society’s journal, The Keeper’s Log. A Navy brat and a long-time resident of Hampton, he enjoys writing, exercising, origami, and of course, history road trips.
William Roscoe Davis (right) was one of many African American light keepers in southeastern Virginia. He was the keeper at Old Point Comfort 1870-78.
Jeremy D’Entremont is the author of more than 20 books and hundreds of articles on lighthouses and maritime history. He is the president and historian for the American Lighthouse Foundation and founder of Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses, and he has lectured and narrated cruises throughout the Northeast and in other regions. He is also the producer and host of the U.S. Lighthouse Society podcast, “Light Hearted.” He can be emailed at Jeremy@uslhs.org