In June, a replica of the slave ship Amistad will sail from Connecticut to Liverpool, which had been a major slaving port. From there it will sail to the old slave coast of Africa in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of a vote by the British Parliament in 1807 to outlaw slavery. It will then return to Connecticut, a journey of 14,000 miles.
In 1839, slaves revolted on the Amistad. They seized the ship, were captured, but were eventually freed by the United States Supreme Court. The story was popularized in the movie Amistad, which was directed by Speilberg.
Some thoughts from the past and present captains of the Amistad.
“These guys made a fortune,” Pinkney said. “The industrial revolution was financed by the slave trade. There’s no getting around it,” he said.
Garfield nodded and repeated, “There’s no getting around it.” The abolition acts of 1807 are important because they mark the beginning of the end of the slave trade, Pinkney said.
“But it took a long time for it to end,” he said. “It lasted so long its tentacles had spread deep into the economics of many nations.”
This time, the Amistad sails for peace, mutual understanding, and the hope that such barbarities never happen again.