Taking the title from the gospel song ""How I Got Over,"" Eloise Greenfield discusses, through 13 biographies, how African-Americans ""were able to get on with their lives, in spite of pain, grief and enormous obstacles"" in How They Got Over: African Americans and the Call of the Sea, illus. by Jan Spivey Gilchrist. Paul Cuffe, an African-American shipbuilder, a member of the American Colonization Society and a founder of a colony for free blacks in Sierra Leone, leads the way. A wide range of individuals people the volume, including Rear Adm. Evelyn J. Fields, who holds the highest position in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps, and Alex Haley, who joined the U.S. Coast Guard at age 17 and, the author asserts, ""became a writer during his life at sea, and at least partly because of it.""