The Amistad Rebellion

The Amistad Rebellion

An Atlantic Odyssey of Slavery and Freedom

Book - 2012
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On June 28, 1839, the Spanish slave schooner Amistad set sail from Havana on a routine delivery of human cargo. On a moonless night, after four days at sea, the captive Africans rose up, killed the captain, and seized control of the ship. They attempted to sail to a safe port, but were captured by the U.S. Navy and thrown into jail in Connecticut. Their legal battle for freedom eventually made its way to the Supreme Court, where their cause was argued by former president John Quincy Adams. In a landmark ruling, they were freed and eventually returned to Africa. The rebellion became one of the best-known events in the history of American slavery, celebrated as a triumph of the legal system in films and books, all reflecting the elite perspective of the judges, politicians, and abolitionists involved in the case. In this powerful and highly original account, Marcus Rediker reclaims the rebellion for its true proponents: the African rebels who risked death to stake a claim for freedom.

Using newly discovered evidence, Rediker reframes the story to show how a small group of courageous men fought and won an epic battle against Spanish and American slaveholders and their governments. He reaches back to Africa to find the rebels' roots, narrates their cataclysmic transatlantic journey, and unfolds a prison story of great drama and emotion. Featuring vividly drawn portraits of the Africans, their captors, and their abolitionist allies, he shows how the rebels captured the popular imagination and helped to inspire and build a movement that was part of a grand global struggle between slavery and freedom. The actions aboard the Amistad that July night and in the days and months that followed were pivotal events in American and Atlantic history, but not for the reasons we have always thought.

The successful Amistad rebellion changed the very nature of the struggle against slavery. As a handful of self-emancipated Africans steered their own course to freedom, they opened a way for millions to follow. This stunning book honors their achievement. 

Publisher: New York : Viking, [2012]
Copyright Date: ©2012
ISBN: 9780670025046
0670025046
Branch Call Number: 326.0973 RED
Characteristics: 288 pages 16 unnumbered pages of plates :,illustrations (some color), map, portraits (some color) ;,24 cm

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bookfanatic1979 Apr 16, 2013

Rediker offers a very, very thorough look at the political and social events leading up to and following the Amistad rebellion. I made it through the first two chapters (background on Cinque and the rest of the slaves, and the actual story of the rebellion) but lost interest when the book reached the political arena. A good read, just beyond my ken.

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