Black Hands, White Sails: The Story of African-American Whalers

Front Cover
Scholastic Press, 1999 - Juvenile Nonfiction - 152 pages
5 Reviews
During colonial and pre-Civil War times, whaling was a dangerous job. Despite the challenges of the sea, runaway slaves were eager to enlist. This is the story of the brave black sailors and Paul Cuffe, Lewis Temple, Frederick Douglass, and other pivotal African-American figures in the whaling industry and abolitionist movement.

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Review: Black Hands, White Sails

User Review  - Mr.M - Goodreads

The subject of this book is fascinating - African Americans serving in the whaling fleet. Unfortunately, the lack of any narrative flow makes it extremely disjointed and hard to read. Read full review

Review: Black Hands, White Sails

User Review  - Sarah Smith - Goodreads

Outstandingly informative book on whaling, concentrating on the experience of African Americans (and Afro-Portuguese, Cape Verdeans, Malayans, etc. etc.). Written for middle grade, but I read it happily for background and learned things. Tags: Quaker, whaling, New Bedford, Nantucket. Read full review

About the author (1999)

Patricia C. McKissack was born on August 9, 1944 in Smyrna, Tennessee. She received a bachelor's degree of arts in English from Tennessee State University in 1964 and a master's degree in early childhood literature and media programming from Webster University in 1975. After college, she worked as a junior high English teacher and a children's book editor. Since the 1980's, she and her husband Frederick L. McKissack have written over 100 books together. Most of their titles are biographies with a strong focus on African-American themes for young readers. Their early 1990s biography series, Great African Americans included volumes on Frederick Douglass, Marian Anderson, and Paul Robeson. Their other works included Black Hands, White Sails: The Story of African-American Whalers and Days of Jubilee: The End of Slavery in the United States. Over their 30 years of writing together, the couple won many awards including the C.S. Lewis Silver Medal, the Coretta Scott King Award for Christmas in the Big House, Christmas in the Quarters, the Jane Addams Peace Award, and the 1998 Virginia Hamilton Award for making a contribution to the field of multicultural literature for children and adolescents, as well as the NAACP Image Award for Sojourner Truth: Ain't I a Woman?. She also writes fiction on her own. She won the 1993 Newberry Honor Book Award for The Dark Thirty: Southern Tales of the Supernatural and the Caldecott Medal for Mirandy and Brother Wind.

Frederick L. McKissack was born on August 12, 1939, in Nashville, Tennessee. He received a degree in civil engineering from Tennessee State University. He was a civil engineer and a construction worker before he and his wife decided to become full-time writers. Since the 1980's, he and his wife Patricia C. McKissack have written over 100 books together. Most of their titles are biographies with a strong focus on African-American themes for young readers. Their early 1990s biography series, Great African Americans, included volumes on Frederick Douglass, Marian Anderson, and Paul Robeson. Over their 30 years of writing together, the couple won many awards including the C.S. Lewis Silver Medal, the Coretta Scott King Award for Christmas in the Big House, Christmas in the Quarters, the Jane Addams Peace Award, and the 1998 Virginia Hamilton Award for making a contribution to the field of multicultural literature for children and adolescents, as well as the NAACP Image Award for Sojourner Truth: Ain't I a Woman?. He died of congestive heart failure on April 28, 2013 at the age of 73.

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