How They Got Over: African Americans and the Call of the Sea

How They Got Over: African Americans and the Call of the Sea

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 Americansfrom a shipbuilder-businessman during the American Revolution to the first woman and African American to hold the highest-ranking position in the National

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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 Americansfrom 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.

Author Biography: Eloise Greenfield is a poet and the author of over thirty books for children, including Africa Dream, a winner of the Coretta Scott King Award, and Honey, I Love. She lives in Washington, D.C.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Packed with seafaring adventures, Eloise Greenfield's, How They Got Over recounts the trials and triumphs of various African American pioneers of the sea. The logical, yet intriguing style of Greenfield's book invites the reader to embark on a journey through the exciting history of African American exploration at sea. A collection of simplistically-written, concise biographies portrays each of thirteen African Americans as they make their mark on the history of deep sea exploration. Beginning in 1759 with Paul Cuffe, the book progresses chronologically to the year 2000 when Carl Brashear was the first African American-amputee diver. How They Got Over is itself a complex timeline of exploration, discovery, and sea pioneering contributions made by various African Americans over the course of 250 years. Greenfield tells of the courage and determination that drove these individuals to become "pilgrims" of the sea, and identifies the relationship and impact each of these people has on the way we interpret and understand the sea today. 2003, HarperCollins Publishers,
— Katie Belby <%ISBN%>0060289910
VOYA
Would you like to be captured by pirates? Or would you rather be an officer on a steamship? This book is not just about how African Americans crossed the Atlantic, but how they got over pain, grief, and obstacles. This book is aimed at sixth through eighth graders or anyone interested in history. It is an extremely easy read that might prove essential to junior high students studying about slavery. Index. Illus. Biblio. Further Reading. VOYA Codes: 3Q 3P M (Readable without serious defects; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8). 2003, Amistad/HarperCollins, 128p,
— Ashley Brugger, Teen Reviewer
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:
9780060289928
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 - 11 Years

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