Activist, Award-Winning Author to speak at Online Lecture Series

Award-winning author Arshay Cooper. 

WOLFEBORO—In partnership with NH Humanities, the New Hampshire Boat Museum (NHBM) will welcome Benjamin Franklin award-winning author Arshay Cooper to its 2021 Virtual Lecture Series on Thurs., August 12 at 7:00 p.m.

Motivational speaker, activist, and Golden Oar recipient for his contributions to the sport of rowing, Cooper became captain of the nation’s first All-Black high school rowing team at Manley High School in Chicago in the late 90s.

“Joining Manley’s rowing team was by far one of the most life altering choices I have made,” he said. “Rowing activated my resilience, ambition, and work ethic.”

In rowing, he said rowers work toward personal growth to achieve a mutual goal.

“The whole team has to be invested in you and you have to be invested in the whole team,” he said.

The lessons he gleaned in the boathouse translated to everyday life.

“I turned my grades around, invested in professional relationships, and started pursuing new opportunities, because rowing taught me to set goals, invest in process, and work hard for results,” Cooper said. “Rowing changed my worldview, approach to life, and introduced me to some of my best friends.”

The friendships he made during his time at Manley exist to this day, as he noted they “get together every few months.”

“The guys and I are still close friends, and we support each other unconditionally,” he said. “Professionally, they’re all entrepreneurs, and each of us do our best to empower each other's professional goals.”

One of these goals is to help promote Cooper’s book, ‘A Most Beautiful Thing,’ which tells their story as the nation’s first all-black high school rowing team, one Cooper will share at the lecture.

“I always hope my audience is empowered by my story to work hard, try something new, and contribute to their communities,” he said. “It’s important that each day we all wake up and make the conscious choice to do our work well, get uncomfortable, and leave every institution better than we found it.”

"A Most Beautiful Thing: The True Story of American’s First All-Black High School Rowing Team" takes place on Thurs., August 12 at 7:00 p.m. Access to the free virtual lecture will be available at

This project was made possible with support from New Hampshire Humanities, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Humanities. Learn more at

Founded in 1992 by vintage boating enthusiasts, NHBM is sponsored this year in part by Goodhue Boat Company, Eastern Propane & Oil, Meredith Village Savings Bank, FL Putnam, Stark Creative, Bank of New Hampshire, and NH Humanities. To learn more about NHBM, visit

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