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“The Mendi Case of La Amistad”

Captured in 1839 – Freed in 1841


A short collage-animation signifying the 1841 historical Supreme Court trial that freed captured Mendi Africans from charges of piracy and murder on the Amistad ship while said to be in transport from Havana, Cuba to sugar plantations in other Spanish colonies. The Mendian’s were actually kidnapped in Sierra Leone, West Africa, given Spanish names and illegally transported as slave cargo to Havana despite the banning of international slave trade laws and treaties. Lead by a leader named Cinque, the Mendian’s revolted against the Spaniards, killed the captain and the cook and ordered two hostages to take them back to Africa. Instead, the hostages steered the Amistad towards the U.S. where Coast Guards seized it. The final decree to free the Mendians was ordered in the U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 22, 1841 fueled by prominent abolitionists, U.S. President John Quincy Adams and the testimonies of the Mendians. 

“The Ritual in Motion”

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