Black Sailors: Afro-American Merchant Seamen and Whalemen Prior to the Civil War (Google eBook)

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Greenwood Publishing Group, Jan 1, 1987 - Biography & Autobiography - 173 pages
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This is the first book to document thoroughly the lifestyle and collective experience of the many thousands of black sailors during this time period. Numerous illustrations in the form of original charts, tables, crew lists, and customs records support the text. In a penetrating study, the author unveils the enormous contribution made prior to the Civil War to the nation's economy, prestige, and power by black Americans.


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1 How Many Were on the Ships
2 The Black Complement
3 Black Ship Officers
4 Those Who Sailed
5 What It All Meant

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About the author (1987)

Martha S. Putney was born in Norristown, Pennsylvania in 1916. She received a bachelor's degree in 1939 and a master's degree in history in 1940 from Howard University and a doctorate in European history in 1955 from the University of Pennsylvania. She worked as a statistical clerk with the government's War Manpower Commission before entering the Women's Army Corps (WAC) in 1943. She left the WAC in 1946 and returned to her old government job, but was determined to one day tell the story of how black Americans had contributed to World War II. She wrote three books during her lifetime: Black Sailors: Afro-American Merchant Seamen and Whalemen Prior to the Civil War (1987); When the Nation Was in Need: Blacks in the Women's Army Corps During World War II (1992); and Blacks in the United States Army: Portraits Through History (2003). She taught at Bowie State College and Howard University. She died on December 11, 2008 at the age of 92.

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