During our study of forced immigration and slavery, we examine various forms of resistance. When talking about kidnapped and enslaved Africans who fought back, the Amistad is a powerful story to share and examine. There are lots of really interesting primary source documents as this was a big court case in 1839. In particular, we use resources from the Mystic Seaport Museum in Connecticut, and excerpts and profiles from John Barber’s 1840 book A History of the Amistad Captives. Various activities to examine primary resources can be applied. The National Archives has a wonderful series of worksheets.
We also use historical fiction sources including a picture book called Amistad Rising and the poetry of Elizabeth Alexander. Both of these take details from primary sources and imagine the emotions and feelings involved.