Tara Roberts: Diving with a purpose

National Geographic Explorer and Storyteller Tara Roberts follows a team on a quest to document and identify sunken slave shipwrecks.

Tara Roberts is following a group of Black scuba divers, historians, and archaeologists, who are all diving with a purpose, as they search for and help document slave trade shipwrecks around the world. 

As a National Geographic Explorer, her goal is to reimagine and reframe the origin story of Africans in the Americas and to tell stories that humanize and bring empathy, nuance, and complexity to their human journey. Roberts is working on a long-form narrative about this journey as a fellow with the MIT Open Documentary Lab. 

Roberts also believes deeply in giving shape and substance to the original ideas of women and girls and encouraging their bold action and achievement. She has edited several books for girls and published her own bold, pro-female, and socially conscious magazine. 

As part of this mission, she also spent a year backpacking around the world to find and tell stories about young women change agents, which led to the creation of a social enterprise that supported and funded their big ideas. 

Roberts has worked as an editor for CosmoGirl, Essence, Ebony, and Heart & Soul magazines. She also served as director of communications for the Ashoka organization and coached social innovators for the Red Bull Amaphiko Academy. In June 2022, Roberts was awarded the Rolex National Geographic Explorer Of The Year for her illuminating work to raise awareness of the 400-year history and legacy of the global slave trade.

In her latest adventure, Roberts sets off on the journey of a lifetime in a new National Geographic podcast Into the Depths. Follow her stories as she joins divers who are searching for the wrecks of ships that carried enslaved Africans. Along the way, she delves into her own roots—and challenges her assumptions about home and belonging. 

Listen wherever you get your podcasts. Listen and follow on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, Google Podcasts, Castbox, Amazon Music, or wherever you like to listen.

This Explorer's work is funded by the National Geographic Society
Learn More
This article has been updated to reflect Tara Roberts' Rolex Explorer of the Year award.