Black Jacks: African American Seamen in the Age of Sail

3.93 avg rating
( 75 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780674076242: Black Jacks: African American Seamen in the Age of Sail
View all copies of this ISBN edition:
 
 

Few Americans, black or white, recognize the degree to which early African American history is a maritime history. W. Jeffrey Bolster shatters the myth that black seafaring in the age of sail was limited to the Middle Passage. Seafaring was one of the most significant occupations among both enslaved and free black men between 1740 and 1865. Tens of thousands of black seamen sailed on lofty clippers and modest coasters. They sailed in whalers, warships, and privateers. Some were slaves, forced to work at sea, but by 1800 most were free men, seeking liberty and economic opportunity aboard ship.

Bolster brings an intimate understanding of the sea to this extraordinary chapter in the formation of black America. Because of their unusual mobility, sailors were the eyes and ears to worlds beyond the limited horizon of black communities ashore. Sometimes helping to smuggle slaves to freedom, they were more often a unique conduit for news and information of concern to blacks.

But for all its opportunities, life at sea was difficult. Blacks actively contributed to the Atlantic maritime culture shared by all seamen, but were often outsiders within it. Capturing that tension, Black Jacks examines not only how common experiences drew black and white sailors together--even as deeply internalized prejudices drove them apart--but also how the meaning of race aboard ship changed with time. Bolster traces the story to the end of the Civil War, when emancipated blacks began to be systematically excluded from maritime work. Rescuing African American seamen from obscurity, this stirring account reveals the critical role sailors played in helping forge new identities for black people in America.

An epic tale of the rise and fall of black seafaring, Black Jacks is African Americans' freedom story presented from a fresh perspective.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

Review:

Among the more intriguing facts that this fascinating book contains is this statistic: by 1803, nearly 20 percent of seamen's jobs were filled by black men, most of them freemen. Historian Jeffrey Bolster, himself a sailor for a decade, covers the story of black sailors from Africa through mid-1800s America. Working as seamen helped blacks support families and helped facilitate communication among widely dispersed people. There were dangers--free blacks could be kidnapped and sold into slavery, and all black sailors were subject to vicious racism. Yet for all the drawbacks, sailing was a profession black men saw as "an occupation of opportunity."

About the Author:

W. Jeffrey Bolster is Hortense Cavis Shepherd Associate Professor and Director of the Graduate Studies Program of the History Department at the University of New Hampshire.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780674076273: Black Jacks: African American Seamen in the Age of Sail

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0674076273 ISBN 13:  9780674076273
Publisher: Harvard University Press, 1998
Softcover

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Bolster, W. Jeffrey
Published by Harvard University Press
ISBN 10: 0674076249 ISBN 13: 9780674076242
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
The Book Nerd
(Port chester, NY, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Harvard University Press. Hardcover. Condition: New. 0674076249. Seller Inventory # SKU1005650

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 11.99
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

2.

W. Jeffrey Bolster
Published by Harvard University Press (1997)
ISBN 10: 0674076249 ISBN 13: 9780674076242
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Ergodebooks
(RICHMOND, TX, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Harvard University Press, 1997. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0674076249

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 37.11
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

3.

Bolster, W. Jeffrey
Published by Harvard University Press (1997)
ISBN 10: 0674076249 ISBN 13: 9780674076242
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 2
Seller:
Murray Media
(North Miami Beach, FL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Harvard University Press, 1997. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110674076249

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 45.41
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds