On the Amistad : The Story of La Amistad (Black History 365)

  • Leave a like if you enjoyed learning something new from this post and follow the page so you can stay up to date with my future posts. I am because we are, that’s Ubuntu. As always, peace and keep it real.

Aboard the Amistad,

Survival to the grave, Won’t succumb to being a slave

Abducted from Sierra Leone the ship made its way

to Havana and then to New Haven 

The captives faced a nightmare 

Seeking freedom, justice, and a return home

The US courts heard their plea, 

Ruling in the captives’ favor, setting them free, 

Their fight for justice was an arduous one, 

But now sovereignty was in view 

Our nation was tested, tried, and at stake, 

The courage of these captives held no mistake, 

Though a long hard journey, justice emerged,

Bringing this story of freedom to fame

Shouting with conviction Cinque said “Give us free!”

So that’s what it’s gon be

In February 1839, Portuguese slave hunters abducted Africans specifically the Mende from Sierra Leone and shipped them to Havana Cuba, a center for slave trading. The thing was, the abduction violated all of the treaties then in existence. Needless to say, two Spainards Pedro Montes and Jose Ruiz, purchased 53 Africans and put them on a Cuban ship named Amistad (Friendship) to the slave plantations in the Caribbean. However, on July 1st, 1839, the slaves seized the ship and a mutiny ensued. The captain and cook were killed. Not to mention, the leader of the Sierra Leone Mende Joseph Sinque demanded Montes and Ruiz sail them back to Africa. They capitulated and sailed north where the ship was seized in Long Island by the U.S. Brig Washington. It was then detoured to New London Connecticut. The Africans were then held prisoner in Connecticut, and their release became the subject of heated debate. A freed slave from Georgia Theodore Joadson wanted Cinque and the others exonerated and recruited Connecticut property lawyer Roger Baldwin to help his case. When circumstances became dire John Quincy Adams was called upon and became an ally to help the Africans win their freedom and return to their homeland. The story of Amistad was adapted into a film in 1997, directed by Steven Speilberg. Even though the reception was positive, some critics saw the film as sanctimonious drivel and claimed the film perpetuated a white savior narrative. From my perspective, I can understand this sentiment but in the case of this story, the Africans were fully aware of their captivity but they couldn’t defend themselves in a land they were foreign to and a language they didn’t speak, thus a defense was needed by the ones who had experience. Whether it was a team of former slaves defending the Africans or not, the outcome of freedom was paramount. Let me know what you think in the comments if you’d like to chime in.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s