Black History Month - The Amistad Incident
February is "Black History Month," a remembrance of important people and events in African American history. One such event is the Amistad incident.
In June 1839, the Amistad set sail from Havana with 53 Africans who had been abducted from West Africa and sold into slavery aboard. Three days into the voyage, the Africans, led by 25-year old "Cinque," revolted, killing the captain and ordering the ship back to Africa. After several months at sea, the ship was seized, and the Africans were sent to a New Haven jail and charged with piracy and murder. Former President John Quincy Adams eventually argued the case on their behalf before the U. S. Supreme Court, which ruled that the Africans were free and should not be returned to Cuba as slaves.
To learn more, check out the library’s DVD of the 1997 Steven Spielberg film Amistad starring Morgan Freeman, Matthew McConaughey, and Anthony Hopkins, or go to the following online sources:
- Amistad Research Center at Tulane University
- Exploring Amistad at Mystic Seaport
- Famous American Trials - The Amistad Trials 1839-1840
- The Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale