UCC Sees Problems in `Amistad'

By Witham, Larry | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), January 17, 1998 | Go to article overview

UCC Sees Problems in `Amistad'


Witham, Larry, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


Steven Spielberg's "Amistad" still dominates area theaters a month after release. In turn, the United Church of Christ (UCC) wants to make a point that will last after the film credits are gone.

While it was so-called Christian nations that adopted the slave trade, the church said, it also was faith-driven abolitionists who ended it.

Yet the three-hour movie lacks such a robust and realistic portrayal.

The UCC can say this with some authority because a main character, the abolitionist Lewis Tappan, was a forebear of the denomination.

"The Amistad movement was a Christian movement," said the Rev. Thomas Dipko, a vice president of the UCC Board for Homeland Ministries. "This is never shown clearly in the film."

The Homeland Board still has a division - the American Missionary Association - founded by Mr. Tappan after the Amistad affair was over.

In the true story, the Spanish slave ship Amistad was taken over at sea by its captured African slaves. The Africans ended up in jail in New Haven, Conn., facing charges of murder and piracy.

Mr. Tappan, a New England Congregationalist, came to their aid, as did John Quincy Adams and large segments of the nation.

Mr. Dipko lauded the film for its historic rendering of the incident, and for its religious cameos such as the judge, a Roman Catholic, praying before he ruled the slaves not guilty.

Filmed in the seaside town of Hartford, Conn., "Amistad" had a scene in which a female churchgoer sings a hymn to a disconsolate slave in jail.

Still, Mr. Dipko said, Mr. Tappan is mostly portrayed inaccurately and the extent of Christian participation in the Amistad case was sold short.

"What those Christian abolitionists really did was to create what we now recognize as the nation's first human rights movement," he said.

Mr. Tappan is often presented as "arrogant or self-serving," the UCC criticism states. At one point, an invented line is put in his mouth, saying that the African prisoners might be more valuable if they were executed and then became "martyrs" to the cause. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

UCC Sees Problems in `Amistad'
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.