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Sender: owner-imap@webmap.missouri.edu
Date: Mon, 15 Dec 97 15:55:24 CST
From: Marpessa Kupendua <nattyreb@ix.netcom.com>
Subject: !*Literary Ammunition to Counter "Amistad"
Article: 24077

From: s. e. anderson
Address: ebontek@earthlink.net


Some Literary Ammunition: A Starter's Reading List for Countering Spielberg's Amistad

Compiled by S. E. Anderson, ebontek@earthlink.net, 15 December 1997

NOTE: This very skimpy list is primarily a reflection of the tiny amount of popular material available about the Amistad Rebellion outside of the highly biased news articles of the day or the articles written in the Black or White Abolitionists' journals of the time. However, there are numerous essays written over the last century in academic journals about the Amistad Rebellion. But ordinary Blackfolk are not going to find their way to these hard-to-find erudite journals, dust them off and read them!

It is clear that the victorious Rebellion and its positive legal outcome has been and still is suppressed from US history and popular culture. There are a few essays scattered over time and space in academic journals that detail on aspect of the trial or another. I have as of yet seen essays that deal with the Black Community's response in New York and Massachusetts. Maybe you have... That's why I gave my email address so you can forward this info to me so that I can, in turn, make sure other folk inquiring would get it.

However, Black artists like Hale Woodruff and Jacob Lawrence help keep the Amistad Legacy alive in Black America's culture during the 1930's and 40's. In addition, the Amistad Research Center at Tulane University (Check out their Website: arc.tulane.edu) is a repository of some important primary and secondary documents on the Amistad Rebellion and the African captives who fought and won their freedom.

It is important to contextualize the Amistad Rebellion. The Movie does not do this. Hollywood never does this. Their role is to rationalize (i.e. give props to; glorify; justify) Bourgeois Democracy and White Supremacy. In reality, 1839 to 1841 was for Blackfolk a positively tumultuous period in antislavery rebellion thruout the Americas. In fact, the 1830's were more tumultuous than any other prior period in the Black antislavery struggle. Thus, these readings are, in part, helping to put the proper perspective on the Rebellion as opposed to a "spin."

The Amistad Starter Kit

America Is Me: Kennell Jackson, Harper Perennial, 1996.

Amistad: A Novel: The Official Tie-in to the Major Motion Picture Directed By Steven Spielberg : Alexs Pate, Dreamworks/Signet, 1997.

Amistad: A Novel: David Pesci, Marlowe & Co., 1997.

The Black Holocaust For Beginners: S. E. Anderson, Writers & Readers, 1995.

Black Saga: Charles M. Christian, Houghton Mifflin Co., 1995.

Breaking the Chains: William Loren Katz, Atheneum, 1990.

The Classic Slave Narratvies: Henry Louis Gates, Editor. Mentor, 1987.

Courage and Conscience: Donald M. Jacobs, Indiana University Press, 1993.

Echo of Lions: Barbara Chase-Ribaud, Viking, 1989.

From Rebellion to Revolution: Eugene D. Genovese, Vintage Books, 1981.

In Hope of Liberty: James Oliver & Lois E. Horton, Oxford Univ. Press, 1997.

Mutiny on the Amistad: Howard Jones, Oxford Univ. Press, 1987.

Slave Testimony: John W. Blassingame, Louisiana State University Press, 1977.

The Slave Trade: Hugh Thomas, Simon & Schuster, 1997.

The Slumbering Volcano: Maggie Montesinos Sale, Duke University Press, 1997.

Spirits of the Passage: Madeline Burnside & Rosemarie Robotham, Simon & Schuster, 1997.

Of course, there are a few essays in scholarly journals scattered over space and time that a search at a good public or college library will bear some fruit.

But for those who are privileged to have access to the Internet, be it at home, school or local library, there are a number of website one can also explore about the Amistad and the film. I would suggest using the Internet Search Engine called Metacrawler located at: metacrawler.com. It's very comprehensive and fast in its searches.