The Amistad Rebellion

An Atlantic History of Slavery and Freedom

Marcus Rediker     2012     320p     6 x 9

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 United States 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.

$4-15

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