February 1839: The Amistad abducted 53 slaves on june 28 1839 ~ on july1 ,35 Slaves organized a mutiny On Nov26,1841 three yrs later& only 23 slaves made it back – a repost

by Jenny Ashcraft  
In February 1839, slave hunters abducted a group of Africans from Sierra Leone and shipped them to Havana, Cuba to be sold as slaves. Their kidnappings violated all treaties then in existence. When they arrived in Cuba, two Spanish plantation owners, Pedro Montes and Jose Ruiz, purchased 53 slaves to work their Caribbean plantation. They loaded the slaves aboard the Cuban schooner Amistad. On July 1, while sailing through the Caribbean, the captured slaves organized a mutiny. One of the slaves, Sengbe Pieh (also known as Joseph Cinque), freed himself and loosed others. They killed the captain and the ship’s cook, seized the ship, and ordered Montes and Ruiz to sail to Africa.

Under the guise of heading towards Africa, Montes and Ruiz sailed the ship north instead. The Amistad zigzagged up the east coast for nearly two months.

On August 26, 1839, it dropped anchor off the tip of Long Island and a few of the men went ashore for fresh water. Soon, the US Navy brig Washington sailed into view. Thomas R. Gedney, commanding officer of the Washington, assumed those on board were pirates. He ordered his men to disarm the Africans and capture everyone including those who had gone ashore for water. They were all transported to Connecticut where officials freed the Spaniards but charged the Africans with murder upon the high seas.

Amistad Memorial
New Haven, Connecticut 
The murder charges were eventually dismissed, but the Africans remained imprisoned and their case sent to Federal District Court in Connecticut. The plantation owners, the government of Spain, and Gedney all claimed some sort of compensation. The plantation owners wanted their slaves back, the Spanish government wanted the slaves returned to Cuba where they would likely be put to death, and Thomas Gedney felt he was entitled to compensation under maritime law that allowed salvage rights when saving a ship or its cargo from impending loss.

The district court ruled that the case fell within Federal jurisdiction. The ruling was appealed, and the case sent to the Supreme Court. Former president John Quincy Adams argued on behalf of the Africans. He said they were innocent because international laws found the slave trade was illegal. Thus, anyone who escaped should be considered free under American law.

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Africans and ordered their immediate release. Abolitionists who had supported their cause raised funds to return them to Africa.

On November 26, 1841, nearly three years after their abduction, the Africans departed New York City bound for home. Only 35 of them made it back. The others died at sea or while in custody.

The original 19th-century manuscripts from the Amistad case and our entire Black History collection are available to search for free this month on Fold3!

Civil Rights Act of 1964 Facts ~ taught in some schools

Civil Rights Act of 1964 Facts


The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a far-ranging law that was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson.

The Act essentially outlawed racial and gender discrimination in the workplace and outlawed most forms of racial segregation.

The bill was originally the idea of President John F. Kennedy, who was viewed by many in the Civil Rights movement as apathetic at best to their plight. Kennedy said he was influenced by sights of civil rights marchers being beaten by the police in Alabama, so he put forward the legislation in June 1963. The bill probably had the votes to pass, but was stopped in committee by Representative Howard Smith of Virginia, who was a segregationist.

After Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963, the Congress and the general public were much more sympathetic to the bill.

The bill was passed 289-126 in the House of Representatives and a modified compromise version by the Senate 73-27 on June 19, 1964.

President Johnson signed the bill into law on July 2, 1964.

Interesting Civil Rights Act of 1964 Facts:
  • Opposition to the bill was more along geographic than political lines with a majority of both southern Democrats and Republicans voting “nay.”
  • Representative Emanuel Cellar (D-NY) was one of the bill’s early advocates. He was also instrumental in passing the Immigration Act of 1965.
  • Southern Democrats filibustered for fifty-four days to prevent the passage of the bill before a compromise bill was introduced that lessened the power of the government to regulate private business.
  • Civil rights organizations, such as the NAACP, and leaders, like Martin Luther King Jr., lobbied congressmen and both presidents to pass the bill.
  • Title VII of the Act expressly prohibits workplace discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
  • The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), oversees enforcement of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
  • Among the more interesting of the congressmen who were opposed to the bill were Senators Robert Byrd (D-WV), who became a mentor to the next generation of Democrat politicians, and Albert Gore Sr. (D-TN), who was the father of former vice president and senator, Al Gore.
  • The legality of the Act has been upheld in several Supreme Court decisions, including:

Heart of Atlanta Hotel v. United States, Philips v. Martin Marietta Corp., and Pittsburgh Press Co. v. Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations.

  • Title IX of the Act made it easier for criminal cases involving civil rights violations to be tried in federal court. This was extremely important as many Klansmen who were acquitted in state courts for crimes ranging from assault and arson to murder were usually convicted for civil rights violations, although the convictions usually carried far less time.
  • The passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 paved the way for the Civil Rights Act of 1968, which barred racial discrimination in housing.
Although some aspects of voting problems were addressed in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, most of the barriers to black disenfranchisement in the southern states were dealt with in the Voting Rights Act of 1965.



If you see any errors please feel free to comment… so many opinions on who actually came up with the idea of the Bill