He was awarded the “Lifetime Achievement Award” on his induction into the National Sailing Hall Of Fame.
First Black man of any nation to solo circumnavigate the world via “Southern Route” (under Cape Horn). The voyage was the focus of 30,000 school children in the Chicago and Boston School Systems. Master Emeritus of the Freedom schooner AMISTAD. Spokesperson for the vessel and its mission to tell the story that lead to the first Human Rights case upheld by the Supreme Court. He has traveled in that capacity to over sixty cities in the U.S., Sierra Leone, England, Canada, Portugal, Senegal, Barbados, and Cuba as the voice of the ship and its mission.
Author of the first grade reading text by SRA-McGraw/Hill “Captain Bill Pinkney’s Journey”. This book has been part of the Basal reading text in classrooms nation-wide since 1994 and has touched tens of thousands of students with the message of sailing, adventure and commitment.
Author of the John Southam Award (Sail America) winning autobiography “As Long As It Takes”. Subject of the Peabody Award winner “The Incredible Voyage of Bill Pinkney” . The video also won the CableAce, Iris and Gabriel awards as well. The voyage was a feature on three segments of “Good Morning America”.
His achievements were acknowledged by the Premier of Bermuda, President George Bush, Lord Mayor of Hobart (Tasmania), Governors and Legislatures of Illinois, Delaware, California, Massachusetts, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania, the Mayors and City Councils of Chicago, Boston, Detroit, Wilmington Delaware, Jacksonville, Florida Kansas City, Missouri and Cleveland Ohio.
Academic awards include Honorary Doctorate degrees from Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Southern Connecticut State University and Becker College, MA. The late Senator Edward Kennedy read an account of his achievement into the Congressional Record of the 102nd Congress upon his return. He received the Illinois Governor’s Distinguished Achievement Award. Named Yachtsman of the Year by the Chicago Yachting Association. A street was named in his honor in Chicago (Monroe and Lake Shore Drive).
Captain Bill Pinkney