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BLAKE; OR, THE HUTS OF AMERICA (1859). In this novel by early
black nationalist Martin Robison Delany (1812–1885), the title character,
an experienced seaman, ships out from Cuba aboard an American slave ship
to advance an international insurrection against slavery. En route to Africa,
Blake and fellow black sailors sing a mutinous chantey celebrating the unfettered ocean as an inspiration for the liberation of slaves. Later, during the
voyage, a mutiny* and tempest erupt simultaneously, the slaves belowdecks
unleashing a storm of rebellion that mirrors the hurricane raging above. The
revolt is quelled as the seas calm, and a promising rainbow greets the ship’s
arrival. Ensuing chapters use sea imagery metaphorically as they recount
Blake’s continuing inland efforts to orchestrate a slave rebellion and thereby
realize on land the freedom of the fetterless main.