Message To The Nation News: The Ship Was Called Amistad And It Wasn’t A Slave Ship…


Amistad Replica Coming To Barbados

One of the watershed events in the history of the Atlantic slave trade was the Amistad incident of 1839. When the slaves on board the Spanish ship Amistad rebelled, killed some of the crew and then attempted to return to Africa, they ended up being captured by the United States Navy.

The slaves were charged with murder on the high seas in a spectacular series of trials and appeals that caused the United States to confront the legality and morality of slaving. Were the slaves “property” who murdered their owners, or were they kidnapped persons using necessary force to free themselves?

That was the decision that had to be made by the Supreme Court of the United States of America. In the end…

(The slaves aboard the Amistad) were not criminals, as the U.S. Attorney’s Office argued, but, rather, “unlawfully kidnapped, and forcibly and wrongfully carried on board a certain vessel”…

… Decision of the US Supreme Court as recounted at with further references to the actual decision.

Contrary to the information presented in The Nation News, the name of the ship was the Amistad – as any Google search would have told the journalist who copied the incorrect media release that was sent around last week. Further, the Amistad was not a slaver – she was a coastal trade vessel working out of Cuba. A quick visit to the ship’s website or even Wikipedia would have confirmed that fact. (Nation News article here)

So what, you say? We are being too picky, you say?

This is just another example of sloppy work by the so-called professional journalists of the Nation News. The problem is that whether that paper is talking about the visit of an important piece of history, or politics, or the economy or our society – many, perhaps most, ordinary folks tend to believe what they read as gospel.

The “journalist” who put together the Nation’s article on the Amistad didn’t go any further than the incorrect media release… of that you can be sure by the major errors in the story.

The Amistad replica is coming to Barbados and the visit should be viewed as a perfect opportunity to examine the entire truth about the history of Atlantic slavery and our connection with this dark activity that continues in many forms worldwide to this day.

We deserve to have a media that cares enough to tell the truth as accurately and as best as it can.

Not just copy press releases.


An Eloquent Captain Bill Pinkney Presents The True Amistad Story

You can read for hours online about the Amistad story and the tremendous legal and societal implications of the US Supreme Court decision. Start with Wikipedia “Amistad” or a Google search and you’ll be gone for the day. You can learn of facts and connections that you will never know unless you spend some time digging deeper than a newspaper or blog article.

Hey… if you live on Barbados, this is your history and your family roots we’re talking about. At our home we can’t get enough of history and the Amistad’s visit has generated so much excitement and discussion that we are seriously talking about how we could manage a trip to Africa someday when the little ones are able.

Captain Bill Pinkney and crew recently sailed from Freetown, Sierra Leone after staying almost two months in that port. What history! You can read all about the new Amistad’s creation and voyages at the official Amistad website here.

You can even follow the ship’s progress day by day as it heads for Dakar, Senegal and then on to Barbados. Here is where it was this morning..

Saturday, Feb 9th. At 9:00 EST this morning the Amistad was at 09º 38.6′ N and 018º 23.4’W making 4.9 kts on a course of 288º True. The wind is directly from Dakar (North by East – force 4) and they still have 300 miles to go directly up wind.

So Fitting That The New Amistad’s Senior Captain Is A Black American

How did Bill Pinkney feel visiting the home of Sengbe Pieh -the leader of the Amistad rebellion? You can read what Captain Pinkney has to say about his visit at this link.

Perhaps the journalists at the Nation News might even spend ten or fifteen minutes at the Amistad’s website before they write their next article upon the ship’s arrival in Bridgetown.


Become A Member Of Amistad’s Crew – Live History

The Amistad’s crew is made up of ordinary people – some with sailing experience and others with different skills. The current and past crew has members as young as 15 years old from many countries including the United States, Canada, Australia, Haiti, and Britain.

I don’t see anyone on the crew list from Barbados. Will you be the first Bajan to serve as a crew member?

Here is the contact information for the Amistad organisation. Go for it!

AMISTAD America, Inc.
746 Chapel Street
Suite 300
New Haven, CT 06510
United States
Phone: 203.495.1839
Toll Free: 866.AMISTAD
Fax: 203.495.9647

Greg Belanger
President & Chief Executive Officer


Filed under Africa, Barbados, Crime & Law, Culture & Race Issues, Race, Religion, Slavery

6 responses to “Message To The Nation News: The Ship Was Called Amistad And It Wasn’t A Slave Ship…

  1. Technician

    All day long, even at lunch, I was laughing at the spelling.
    Imagine this paper is supposed to be put together by educated people.
    One can only wonder how many other things get screwed up daily.

  2. samizdat

    Armistad? Whatever next? Alex Haley’s “Boots”…?

    Seriously, you’re right to call The Nation on this: it’s a real howler, and the journalist in question (not to mention the sub-editor) deserves to be mocked.

    I mean, it’s not as if it’s an obscure name or historical incident (which is presumably why BFP noticed the mistake) – there’s even a Spielberg blockbuster about it, for heavens’ sake.

    Still, The Nation (for all its egregious faults as a newspaper) doesn’t often make blunders as silly as this, and when it does, it will at least own up to them in its ‘Corrections” column.

    The Advocate, on the other hand, is regularly full of the most grotesque spelling errors as well as all kinds of other grammatical solecisms, which are never acknowledged or corrected.

  3. GreenBB

    Yes, but the Pig Tails have been found!!! Now that’s news…

  4. cherry2enpowered

    I am surprised there is not a write up on Edgehill and Trotman dismissal from the UDC and subsequent follow ups on the story.
    How has this escape your attention?
    Further more Mia accused Thompson of political cleansing.
    Isn’t the oppposite of clean -dirty?
    By using the word cleansing, isn’t she in fact admitted that DIRTYNESS ABOUNDS?

  5. While we are on the subject of “misspelling” I am bewildered by the apparent campaign to change the name of “Worthing” to “WorthingS”, presumably so that it matches Oistins, Hastings, Searles, Balls, Edeys, Gibbons, Packers and many more.

    There are half a dozen signposts incorrectly showing Worthing as Worthings, including one directly in front of Worthing police station.

    Is this a relection of a Bajan love for the plural? Are we destined to have Wildeys, Maxwells, Fontabelles, and even Bridgetowns?

    I have been hoping some kind soul would come along with a spray can and blot off the extraneous S in Worthings’ signs, but – No. There they remain to confuse our visitors and set a sloppy standard of accuracy in spelling through our society.

  6. Sandra Taitt-Eaddy

    Hi, I live in Connecticut. I too love the story of the Amistad and I’m glad that it is being shared worldwide.

    Mis-spellings notwithstanding, I would that we refer to these heroes not as slaves, but as AFRICANS. Theirs is a marvelous success story of rebellion against that very status which their European captors were intent on imposing. These were victorious Africans.