The Amistad Revolt: Memory, Slavery, and the Politics of Identity in the United States and Sierra Leone

Synopsis

From journalism and lectures to drama, visual art, and the Spielberg film, this study ranges across the varied cultural reactions--in America and Sierra Leone--engendered by the 1839 Amistad slave ship revolt.Iyunolu Folayan Osagie is a native of Sierra Leone, from where the Amistad's cargo of slaves originated. She digs deeply into the Amistad story to show the historical and contemporary relevance of the incident and its subsequent trials. At the same time, she shows how the incident has contributed to the construction of national and cultural identity both in Africa and the African diasporo in America--though in intriguingly different ways.This pioneering work of comparative African and American cultural criticism shows how creative arts have both confirmed and fostered the significance of the Amistad revolt in contemporary racial discourse and in the collective memories of both countries.