Student Research

Revisiting Spielberg’s Amistad

The legal case surrounding the vessel, La Amistad, has not been an event well-taught by American history textbooks, especially given its landmark importance in the global history of slavery. In history, the event unfolded as such: in June 1839, the Spanish vessel, La Amistad left Havana, Cuba with Captain Ramon Ferrer transporting illegally abducted Africans to work on sugar plantations. Mid-route on July first, the captives rose up, killed the captain and the cook, seized the ship, and entrusted the crew members Jose Ruiz and Pedro Montez to direct the vessel back to Africa.

Not Enslaved but Also Not Free: Connecticut Courts and Free Black Citizenship, 1818–1865

A look into the history of the political status of free Black people in Connecticut before the Civil War reveals the unique position held by the state in larger national conversations over the citizenship of free Black people. Historical analysis of the state’s history reveals that Connecticut occupies a conflicted, yet influential, space in the history of American racism, citizenship, and equal protection.