How They Got Over

How They Got Over

by Eloise Greenfield, Jan Spivey Gilchrist
     
 

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African Americans have been drawn to the sea for hundreds of years. In this collection of biographies, Eloise Greenfield examines how that connection to the sea has influenced generations of African Americans — from a shipbuilder-businessman during the American Revolution to the first woman and African American to hold the highest-ranking position in the

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Overview

African Americans have been drawn to the sea for hundreds of years. In this collection of biographies, Eloise Greenfield examines how that connection to the sea has influenced generations of African Americans — from a shipbuilder-businessman during the American Revolution to the first woman and African American to hold the highest-ranking position in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps. The lives of the extraordinary men and women included here create a stirring image of the powerful tie between African Americans and the water that has both bound them and set them free. Jan Spivey Gilchrist's artwork is as evocative as the profiles of the people it illustrates.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Taking the title from the gospel song "How I Got Over," Eloise Greenfield discusses, through 13 biographies, how African-Americans "were able to get on with their lives, in spite of pain, grief and enormous obstacles" in How They Got Over: African Americans and the Call of the Sea, illus. by Jan Spivey Gilchrist. Paul Cuffe, an African-American shipbuilder, a member of the American Colonization Society and a founder of a colony for free blacks in Sierra Leone, leads the way. A wide range of individuals people the volume, including Rear Adm. Evelyn J. Fields, who holds the highest position in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps, and Alex Haley, who joined the U.S. Coast Guard at age 17 and, the author asserts, "became a writer during his life at sea, and at least partly because of it."
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-Eight seafaring African Americans from the last 250 years are profiled: Paul Cuffe, James Forten, Robert Smalls, Matthew Henson, recreational scuba diver Shirley Lee, Evelyn Fields of NOAA, and Michelle Howard of the U.S. Navy. The title refers not to their crossing the ocean, but to the meaning in the gospel song "How I Got Over"-in other words, how they pushed on with their lives, "in spite of pain, grief and enormous obstacles." A full-page, black-and-white drawing of each individual accompanies the text. Following the profiles are "snapshots," or spreads, that introduce Langston Hughes, Alex Haley, Samuel L. Gravely, Jr., Carl M. Brashear, Albert Jos Jones, and William Pinkney. A "montage" highlights African-American involvement with the sea, be it as Civil War sailors or Pea Island Station Lifesavers. The bibliography is extensive. The open layout, generous type size, and engaging writing make this a good choice for reports.-Diane S. Marton, Arlington County Library, VA Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A series of sketches, some sketchier than others, attempts to bring to a child audience a number of African-Americans who have had some relationship with the sea. Figures from history—Paul Cuffe, James Forten, Matthew Henson—share space with more contemporary and less well-known figures—deep-sea diver Shirley Lee, NOAA administrator Rear Admiral Evelyn J. Fields, Naval Commander Michelle Janine Howard. These "Profiles" are followed by a series of "Snapshots"—brief page-and-a-half entries on such individuals as Langston Hughes and Alex Haley which emphasize their sea-going sides—and then a brief "Montage" of paragraph-long blurbs on other African-American involvements with the sea. The organizational concept is novel, but that�s where the novelty ends. The relative unevenness of coverage gives the whole a somewhat scattershot effect and mostly tantalizes rather than informs with the briefer entries. There is very little indication in this offering that Greenfield (Honey, I Love, above, etc.) is a poet: short, choppy sentences rarely attain a level of beauty higher than bland. As nonfiction, it reads like a very old-fashioned example of the art. Despite allusions in the text to diaries and letters, primary-source material makes no appearance; neither, with one exception, are there quotes from any of the living figures profiled. Combined with the generally undistinguished language, this makes for an essentially passive text. Frequent collaborator Gilchrist (as above) provides black-and-white portraits of the individuals represented at the beginning of each chapter. A bibliography and index (not seen) round out this uninspiring biographical collection. (Biography.8-11)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060289911
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
01/01/2003
Edition description:
1ST
Pages:
128
Product dimensions:
7.25(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

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