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Black Jacks - Recommendation *PIC*

Here's that review!

At The Bookstore

Title: Black Jacks: African American Seamen in the Age of Sail

Author: W. Jeffrey Bolster

Publisher: Harvard Univ Press

ISBN: 0674076249

Mention blacks at sea, and one immediately pictures the Middle Passage: human cargo huddled miserably below decks, weighed down by manacles, laid low by sickness, fear, and abuse; one is far less likely to imagine black men scaling the rigging, commanding the bridge, or flinging the harpoon. W. Jeffrey Bolster's Black Jacks may change all that. Bolster, himself a master mariner, has assembled a comprehensive history of African Americans at sea that covers two centuries and a wealth of experience--from examples of African coastal trade routes that existed long before European intrusion onto the continent to tales of both free Northern black sailors and slaves who commanded ships as captains or navigated them as pilots, giving them greater autonomy on the sea than they ever would have known on land.

There are heroes such as Richard Crafus, imprisoned in England's Dartmouth Prison during the War of 1812, and martyrs such as Denmark Vesey, a former sailor who was executed for planning a slave rebellion in Charleston; however, Bolster is not content merely to praise noteworthy men. In Black Jacks he paints a broader picture, demonstrating how these seafaring African Americans developed a sense of self-worth from their experience in the wider world to share with their enslaved brethren at home.

"Guided by the Ancestors"

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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