Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Saturday, March 9, 2013


Patricia C. McKissack recounts this amazing chapter in American history 
for beginning readers. 
Illustrations are by Sanna Stanely. Amistad: The Story of a Slave Ship   

In Spanish, Amistad means "friendship". How ironic that it was also the name of a slave ship. In 1838, the Amistad took hundreds of kidnapped Africans on a long journey across the Atlantic from slave-trading Cuba to the United States.


source: National Portrait Gallery

The brave captives would not give up their freedom. Sengbe Pieh, a Mende African known as "Cinque", freed himself and the other slaves, planning a mutiny. They staged a revolt and took over the ship so they could sail back to their homeland. Instead, they were found grounded off the coast of Long Island. The ship was taken to Connecticut, where the Africans became tangled in legal battles that went all the way to the United States Supreme Court.

John Quincy Adams
source: National Portrait Gallery

On February 22, 1841, the U.S. Supreme Court began hearing the Amistad Case. U.S. Representative John Quincy Adams of Massachusetts, who had served as the sixth president of the United States from 1825 to 1829, joined the Africans' defense team. In Congress, Adams had been an eloquent opponent of slavery, and before the nation's highest court he presented a coherent argument for the release of Cinque and the 34 other survivors of the Amistad.  

On March 9, 1841, the Supreme court ruled that the captive Africans who seized control of the ship carrying them had been taken into slavery illegally.  They were declared free and some were able to return home.

For Grades 5 and up:
Amistad: A Long Road to Freedom Newbery Honor author 
Walter Dean Myers explores the issues surrounding the 
imprisonment and trial of the Amistad captives. 
Illustrations. Maps.

For further investigation:
You can see and read the actual Amistad Case documents from the National Archives by going here.

You can also read more on the State of Conneticut History Kids Page and website here.

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