The Amistad Case History

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Steven Spielberg’s film Amistad has been shown in American classrooms to teach a historical landmark case. Controversy has arisen because some of the facts in the film are misleading. With that knowledge, should the Amistad film continue to be used as an educational tool?
Fifty-three Africans were purchased by two Spanish planters and put aboard the Cuban schooner Amistad for shipment to a Caribbean plantation. (“The Amistad Case”)
The Africans broke out of their chains, snuck up to the main deck, killed two crewmembers and disarmed the rest. Having seized control of the ship, they attempted to sail back to their homeland, only to be deceived into heading north instead of east. (History)
Correct character portrayal
Admittedly fictional
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Even though there are a few inaccuracies in the film, overall it does a great job at giving the overall idea of the Amistad case. Before watching this film, I had no idea of the Amistad case or what it was about, so I know it would benefit other students who were like me and knew nothing about the case.
Amistad. Directed by Steven Spielberg. Dreamworks Pictures, 1997. Staff. "Amistad Case." . A&E Television Networks, 2009. Web. 06 Mar. 2017.
Linder, Douglas O. “Biographies of Trial Participants.” Famous American Trials: Amistad Trials 1839-1840, 2000, McKissack, Patricia. Amistad: The Story of a Slave Ship. Penguin Young Readers,
Newman, Richard. "Not the Only Story in "Amistad": The Fictional Joadson and the Real James Forten." Pennsylvania History. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Feb. 2017.
"The Amistad Case." National Archives and Records Administration. National Archives and Records Administration, n.d. Web. 06 Mar. 2017

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