Tag Archives: african slaves

this day in the yesteryear: Revolt Aboard the Amistad (1839)

Revolt Aboard the Amistad (1839)

In 1839, 53 African slaves being transported on the Spanish merchant ship La Amistad revolted against their captors. Having gained control of the ship, they demanded that the navigator set a course for Africa. However, he deceived them and sailed the ship northward until it was intercepted by the US Navy off the coast of New York. After a widely publicized court battle, the Supreme Court ruled that the Africans were not legally slaves and ordered them freed. What does amistad mean? More… Discuss


Benin National Vodoun Day

Vodoun is an ancient, African, pantheistic religion. When it was brought to the Americas by African slaves, it was blended with elements of Christianity into what is known as “Voodoo.” The present African country of Benin, situated on the former kingdom of Dahomey, is known as a center of Vodoun culture. The day is celebrated throughout Benin with processions, Vodoun rituals, dances, and even an international film festival. The celebration’s central activity, however, is the re-enactment of the journey from the slave auction block in the center of town to the ships in the harbor. More… Discuss


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Today’s Birthday: ALEX HALEY (1921)


Alex Haley (1921)

A descendent of African slaves, Haley began writing during a 20-year US Coast Guard career. He became a journalist, and earned national attention for The Autobiography of Malcolm X. His biggest success was 1976’s Roots, a Pulitzer Prize-winning history of his ancestors beginning with their enslavement. A television adaptation became one of the most-watched programs in America, spurring interest in genealogy. Why then was the work excluded from a prominent anthology of literature? More… Discuss