Amistad re-creation retracing infamous slave trade route
NEW HAVEN, Conn. --
For the next 16 months, a ship bearing the name Amistad once again will
sail the Atlantic, tracing a 19th-century route of the slave trade.
The Freedom Schooner Amistad, a near-replica of the ship that sparked a
slave revolt, departed last week from its home port in New Haven for a
14,000-mile voyage to Nova Scotia, Britain and Africa.
''We believe that the Amistad story is a landmark case in American
history and deserves to be told and recognized,'' said William Minter,
chairman of the project.
In 1839, more than 50 African captives en route to Cuba on the Amistad
schooner rebelled and took over the ship. They were captured and jailed
in New Haven.
With help from area abolitionists, the surviving Africans won their
freedom in a historic court battle that started in Connecticut and ended
in the U.S. Supreme Court. Former President John Quincy Adams
represented the slaves.
Their story was depicted in the 1997 movie directed by Steven Spielberg.
Freedom Schooner Amistad, constructed at Mystic Seaport in Connecticut,
was launched in 2000. The ship has traveled around the country, but this
is its first voyage tracing the international slave route.
The new voyage includes stops at nearly 20 Atlantic ports that played an
important role in the trade. Stops in Shelburne and Halifax, Nova
Scotia, Canada, were scheduled for the end of June, followed by stops in
August and September in the United Kingdom in Hull, London, Liverpool
and Bristol. The ship will dock in Lisbon, Portugal, in October, and in
Freetown, Sierra Leone, in December and January.
Next year's itinerary includes Senegal, Cape Verde, Charleston, S.C.,
Washington, D.C., and New York City, with a return to New Haven in July