Amistad to NOW Dock at Yonkers Recreational Pier Sunday, September 8th to 9th, Possibly 10th

eHezi Africa, Archives, Ethnicity, Governance, Greenburgh, NY, History, International, Law, New York State, People, Politics, The Americas, Yonkers, NY 1 Comment

Awaiting Answer  As To How Long the Amistad Will Be Operating From Yonkers!

For sunset wait ticket purchase visit:

Sails are of 2½ hours duration, accommodating 42 people of  from 8years of age and older. Inclement weather can cause a cancellation so it is imperative that 2 hours prior to the sailing time of 5pm, guests must be prompt, one can call for sailing status at 475-38-4906. $40 per adult; $25 per child of from 8 to 12 years of age.

Portrait of Cinqué by Nathaniel Jocelyn, 1840,.

The Greenburgh African-American Historical alliance/400 years project is a Westchester County-wide initiative. The Amistad that will NOW ARRIVE on Sunday, September 8th in what is in fact a replica of the slave ship that was made famous upon the modern day telling that commemorated the mutiny led by Joseph Cinqué (c. 1814 – c. 1879), a/k/a/ Sengbe Pieh. Cinqué was a West African man of the Mende people who led a revolt of many Africans on the Spanish slave ship, La Amistad. After the ship was taken into custody by the United States Revenue Cutter Service, Cinqué and his fellow Africans were eventually tried for mutiny and killing officers on the ship, in a case known as United States v. The Amistad. This reached the US Supreme Court, where Cinqué and his fellow Africans were found to have rightfully defended themselves from being enslaved through the illegal Atlantic slave trade and were released. Americans helped raise money for the return of 35 of the survivors to what was then known as British Sierra Leone.

Cinqué was  a rice farmer, and married with three children, when he was captured illegally by African slave traders in 1839 and sold to Pedro Blanco, a Spanish slave trader. He was imprisoned on the European slave ship Tecora, in violation of treaties prohibiting the international slave trade. Cinqué was taken to Havana, Cuba, where he was sold with 110 others to Spaniards José Ruiz and Pedro Montez.

The Spaniards arranged to transport the captives on the coastal schooner Amistad, with the intention of selling them as slaves at ports along the coast in Cuba for work at sugar plantations. On June 30, Cinqué led a revolt, killing the captain and the cook of the ship; two slaves also died, and two sailors escaped. The Africans took Ruiz and Montez as prisoners, the merchants who had purchased them, and demanded that they direct the ship back to Sierra Leone. Instead, at night, they directed the navigator in the opposite direction, toward the Americas, in the hope of attracting the attention of one of their fellow Spaniards who would save their ship and regain control. The ship had an uneven course between the coasts of the United States and Africa. After about two months, Amistad reached United States waters near Long Island, New York. Members of the USS Washington boarded the vessel. When they discovered what had happened (according to the Spaniards), they charged the Africans with mutiny and murder. The ship and the Mende people were taken to New Haven, Connecticut to await trial.

La Amistad off Culloden Point, Long Island, New York, on 26 August 1839.

A print of Cinqué that appeared in 
The Sun on August 31, 1839.

Text of the Amistad Supreme
Court decision.

The two Spaniards claimed that the Africans had been born in Cuba and were already slaves at the time of their purchase, and were therefore legal property. Interpreters from Mende to English were found, who enabled the Africans to tell their story to attorneys and the court. Cinqué served as the group’s informal representative.

After the case was ruled in favor of the Africans in the district and circuit courts, the case was appealed by the Spanish parties, including its government, to the Supreme Court of the United States. In March 1841, the Supreme Court ruled that the Africans mutinied to regain their freedom after being kidnapped and sold illegally. The advocacy of former U.S. President John Quincy Adamstogether with Roger Sherman Baldwin, was critical to the Africans’ defense. The court ordered the Africans freed and returned to Africa, if they wished. This decision was against the protests of President Martin Van Buren, who worried about relations with Spain and implications for domestic slavery.

Cinqué and the other Mende people reached their homeland in 1842. In Sierra Leone, Cinqué encountered civil war. He and his company maintained contact with the local mission for a while, but Cinqué left to trade along the coast. Little is known of his later life, rumors were circulated. Some maintained that he had moved to JamaicaOthers held that he had become a merchant or a chief, perhaps trading in slaves himself.

The latter charge derived from oral accounts from Africa cited by the twentieth-century author William A. Owens, who claimed that he had seen letters from AMA missionaries suggesting Cinqué was a slave trader. More recently historians such as Howard Jones in 2000 and Joseph Yannielli in 2009 have argued that, although some of the Africans associated with the Amistad probably did engage in the slave trade upon their return, given the nature of the regional economy at the time, the allegations of Cinqué’s involvement seem implausible in view of the lack of evidence, and the unlikelihood of a conspiracy of silence leaving no traces.

eHeziAmistad to NOW Dock at Yonkers Recreational Pier Sunday, September 8th to 9th, Possibly 10th

Comments 1

  1. Excellent article! Thanks much for sharing the background. Authentic historical facts leave room for debate and more inquiry. These lead to insight, or more valuable facts and perspective. This what we need “right about now” to be widespread. Insight and debate require critical thinking.

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