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

Patricia C. McKissack and Fredrick L. McKissack
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The McKissacks employ the third-person point of view in depicting the lives of whalers and their families. They also provide firstperson accounts as appropriate. Their descriptive narratives share the lives of African-American whalers whose contribution to our country's past is unfamiliar to the public. Universal themes of racial inequity and persecution, isolation, justice, and survival arise as readers experience this era in history.

The McKissacks appropriately titled the book Black Hands, White Sails. Readers may not realize that African Americans frequently operated whaling ships in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

The McKissacks introduce the book with an overview of whaling and historical events that establishes its credibility. They mention the findings of several ships that substantiate the importance of whaling to the economy. As early as 1620, Pilgrims recorded that whales appeared in the coastal waters off Massachusetts, making the shore a place of profitable...

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This section contains 944 words
(approx. 4 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Black Hands, White Sails: The Story of African-American Whalers Short Guide
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