Hinson's Amistad Links
After thirteen (13) years of trying to find someone to tell the story,
Debbie Allen convinced Steven Spielberg to put a bit of history
on the big screen.
Based on a true story, "Amistad" (the movie) is the saga of a revolt on
board a Spanish slave ship and the trial that followed. In the summer
of 1839, fifty-three African captives,
broke free and took over the slave ship Amistad. Captured off the
eastern seaboard after failing in a desperate attempt to sail home,
they find themselves strangers in a strange land and at the mercy of
the American justice system.
Fighting for the Africans are abolitionist Theodore Joadson
and young lawyer Roger Baldwin. However,
seeking re-election, President Martin Van Buren is
willing to sacrifice the Africans to appease the pro-slavery South.
The case takes on historic proportions when former President John Quincy
Adams comes out of retirement to take the Africans'
cause all the way to the United States Supreme Court in a trial that
challenges the very foundation of the American legal system.
- A brief overview of the 19th-century slave ship rebellion.
The Amistad Case
- From the National Archives and Records Administration,
documents related to the Circuit Court and Supreme Court cases
involving the Amistad and suggestions for teaching activities.
The Amistad Research Center
- The Amistad Research Center is an independent archives, library & museum
dedicated to preserving African-American & ethnic history and culture.
The Center is named after the famed 1839 revolt by Africans on La Amistad
and the subsequent landmark U.S. Supreme Court case it precipitated.
- Online resources related to the Amistad affair compiled by The Gilder Lehrman
Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition.
- The Spielberg film released December 12th (1997) by
Newport, RI, 1997
- Pictures from the Amistad set filmed in Newport, Rhode Island.
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Guide: Black History
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Updated November 18, 2013
Donald L. Hinson, Jr.