La Amistad 2 Essay, Research Paper
Report on the Movie
Stripped of all human rights and taken forcefully from their homes, these people truly know what it is like to suffer. Amistad is a powerful story of the fight against slavery, and the victory of the abolitionists. This film is very moving, and should have been given many Oscars for excellent acting and directing. It is an outstanding reproduction of actual history and truly gives the viewer a feel for what these slaves endured.
In the late 1830’s, the ship Amistad (which ironically means friendship in French), sailed with it’s cargo of slaves from Sierra Leone for the eastern coast of America. During the voyage, the slaves overpowered the crew, killing all but two of the crew. The crew members left alive were kept to help the slaves navigate back to Africa, the slave’s home. The two crew members tricked the slaves and sailed instead to the coast of America. The slaves had no knowledge of navigation, and since they could not speak or understand Spanish, they had no real way of communicating with the crew except for gestures, which were normally violent. Not knowing that they had been tricked, the ringleader of the slaves, Cinque, took a boatload of slaves ashore and unloaded. They refilled their water buckets, which had recently been emptied. One of the men on the ship catches their attention and they see another ship coming up along side of theirs. They jump in their boat and row back to their ship. They are captured and taken to shore. They are thrown into jail. After this, it is a fight to free the slaves and in turn, bring an end to slavery all together.
One of the most moving scenes in the movie happens on board the slave ship. A woman has just had a baby, she knows that it will not be taken care of well if she dies, and she does not want it to have to live a life as a slave. During a whipping display, she throws herself over the side of the boat. I think that the reason she did this is that she would rather die than live the life of a slave.
There was a question of ownership among four different groups of people as to who was the true owner of the slaves and the Amistad. The two Spaniards that the slaves kept alive to navigate, claimed that they had bought the slaves legally, and that the ship was theirs to begin with. Queen Isabella the 2nd claimed that the slaves belonged to Spain, because of a treaty between America and Spain saying that all things belonging to Spain that are taken to America, should be returned immediately. The other person claiming that Amistad was his was the Captain of the ship that captured the Amistad when it had landed on the coast. The only person fighting for the slaves was their lawyer, who had almost no experience whatsoever.
The story ends happily, with the slaves being freed and the slave fortress at Sierra Leone being destroyed by British cannons! The American government tells the slaves (through interpreters) that they will take them back to Africa to lead their regular lives again. When Cinque gets back, he find his wife and children gone, it is believed that they were sold into slavery. This movie is the story of one of the first major steps in the fight against slavery.