the first vessel to escape

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mixandua

Member
Chinese
Hi, there! The word "vessel" in this context just confused me. I mean, it should be like a boat or ship. Why did the author connect it with the Greyhound bus? Any cultural background?

Can anybody help me?

"I’m Me. Literally. A not-so-proud descendant of the Kentucky Mees, one of the first black families to settle in southwest Los Angeles, I can trace my roots all the way back to the first vessel to escape state-sanctioned southern repression—the Greyhound bus. "
 
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  • Montabella

    Senior Member
    English-American
    Hi, there! The word "vessel" in this context just confused me. I mean, it should be like a boat or ship. Why did the author connect it with the Greyhound bus? Any cultural background?

    Can anybody help me?

    "I’m Me. Literally. A not-so-proud descendant of the Kentucky Mees, one of the first black families to settle in southwest Los Angeles, I can trace my roots all the way back to the first vessel to escape state-sanctioned southern repression—the Greyhound bus. "
    I agree with suzi br in that the author is probably using a bit of humor to describe the situation. Vessel can mean a ship or boat, it can also mean a container [usually for holding liquids or large quantities of an item(s).] So it could be the author is being whimsical in describe the huge size of the Greyhound bus or implying that the Greyhound Bus, is holding (contains) a lot of similar people who are leaving the state-sanctioned area in the south.
     

    mixandua

    Member
    Chinese
    I agree with suzi br in that the author is probably using a bit of humor to describe the situation. Vessel can mean a ship or boat, it can also mean a container [usually for holding liquids or large quantities of an item(s).] So it could be the author is being whimsical in describe the huge size of the Greyhound bus or implying that the Greyhound Bus, is holding (contains) a lot of similar people who are leaving the state-sanctioned area in the south.
    That makes sense! Thanks!
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    The humor is a reference to the practice of Americans who boast about their lineage to claim descent from the passengers of certain ships that arrived in colonial times. The most well-known is the Society of Mayflower Descendants -- that is, the descendants of the Puritans who arrived on the Mayflower in 1620, but there are others, such as the Society of the Ark and the Dove, which traces descent from the founding colonists of Maryland, who travelled on those two ships. Here, the Greyhound bus is being likened to those famous ships.
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    I like GWB’s take on this. That background certainly makes the OP use of vessel seem funnier. Greyhound buses are pretty mundane and ubiquitous compared to the unique nature of the colonial ships.
     
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