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.
Amistad Resources
Online resources related to the Amistad affair compiled by The Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition.
Movieweb: Amistad
The Spielberg film released December 12th (1997) by DreamWorks Pictures.
Newport, RI, 1997
Pictures from the Amistad set filmed in Newport, Rhode Island.

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Updated November 18, 2013
Donald L. Hinson, Jr.