Black Salt

BookBlack Salt

Black Salt

Seafarers of African Descent on British Ships

2014

March 27th, 2014

£19.99
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During the Age of Sail, black seamen could be found in many shipboard roles in the Royal Navy, such as gunners, deck-hands and ‘top men’, working at heights in the rigging. In the later Age of Steam, black seamen were more likely to be found on merchantmen below deck; as cooks, stewards and stokers. Nevertheless, the navy was possibly a unique institution in that black and white could work alongside each other more than in any other occupation. In this fascinating work, Dr. Ray Costello examines the work and experience of seamen of African descent in Britain’s navy, from impressed slaves to free Africans, British West Indians, and British-born Black sailors. Seamen from the Caribbean and directly from Africa have contributed to both the British Royal Navy and Merchant Marine from at least the Tudor period and by the end of the period of the British Slave Trade at least three percent of all crewmen were black mariners. Black sailors signed off in British ports helped the steady growth of a black population. In spite of racial prejudice in port, relationships were forged between sailors of different races which frequently ignored expected norms when working and living together in the isolated world of the ship. Black seamen on British ships have served as by no means a peripheral force within the British Royal and Mercantile navies and were not only to be found working in both the foreground and background of naval engagements throughout their long history, but helping to ensure the supply of foodstuffs and the necessities of life to Britain. Their experiences span the gamut of sorrow and tragedy, heroism, victory and triumph.

Written with enthusiasm and a joy to read, Costello enlightens the reader with numerous fascinating stories and anecdotes as well as previously unpublished first-hand testimonies of black seafarers and their adventures at sea and on land, some positive, others tragic.

History Today

Black Salt is a fascinating read which is hard to put down. It is as enjoyable as it is thought-provoking and covers an area of the British Merchant and Royal navies that is often over looked. Well worth the price tag.

Nautilus International, Telegraph

Costello certainly accomplishes the goal of opening up the study of Black seamen in British merchant and naval ships. More work is to be done, but the start is here, with this book.

The Northern Mariner/Le marin du nord, Vol. XXIII, No. 2

... this work is of value particularly to those interested in comprehensively collecting in the areas of black studies and maritime studies.

Naval History

'This is a well researched and written title on a forgotten part of the Great War and is highly recommended.'
Paul Reed

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Author Information

Ray Costello is an independent historian and writer and an honorary research fellow of the School of Sociology and Social Science, University of Liverpool.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Cover1
Half-title2
Dedication3
Title page4
Copyright page5
Contents6
Acknowledgements7
List of Abbreviations9
List of Illustrations10
Introduction12
Timeline21
Chapter 126
Chapter 242
Chapter 357
Chapter 476
Chapter 595
Chapter 6120
Chapter 7139
Chapter 8159
Chapter 9178
Chapter 10196
Chapter 11218
Chapter 12235
Notes and References241
Bibliography260
Index267