Yale Bulletin and Calendar

June 23, 2000Volume 28, Number 34

Joseph Cinque, the leader of the revolt aboard "La Amistad," is shown here in this portrait owned by the New Haven Colony Historical Society. "You tell our judges let us free," he wrote to his defense lawyer, Roger Sherman Baldwin. The letter is among the items that will be on view at Sterling Memorial Library.

Events to celebrate the arrival of 'Amistad' ship

Exhibitions, tours and concerts at Yale and other New Haven locations will celebrate the arrival of the freedom schooner Amistad at its home port at Long Wharf Pier during a two-day festival on Saturday and Sunday, July 15 and 16.

The schooner is a re-creation of the original "La Amistad," on which 53 Africans from the Mende tribe were taken aboard by Cubans in 1839 after being illegally seized as slaves. The captives mutineed, but were later jailed in New Haven while their case was brought to trial. Yale students and Divinity School professor Josiah Willard Gibbs played a role in their eventual freedom and return to Africa.

The Amistad Home Port Arrival Celebration, sponsored in part by Yale University, will commence at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday with an official nautical ceremony as the schooner enters New Haven's harbor. Throughout the day, visitors at Long Wharf Park will be able to enjoy activities and exhibits led by regional corporations, agencies and institutions, including Yale's Peabody Museum of Natural History. Live entertainment, multi-ethnic foods and limited tours on board the Amistad will also be available.

Free round-trip bus tours of the New Haven Freedom Trail will be offered on Saturday until 5 p.m. to sites associated with the Underground Railroad and the Amistad Incident of 1839. Buses will leave and return from Long Wharf Park on the hour, and will provide stops at various locations featuring exhibitions related to the Amistad, including the Peabody Museum of Natural History, the Yale University Art Gallery and Sterling Memorial Library. A stop will also be provided near Chapel Street for shoppers; shops and restaurants along Chapel Street and Broadway will provide special offers throughout the day to anyone wearing an Amistad sticker (available at the festival at Long Wharf Park).

Festival activities on Sunday include an interfaith service, a concert and a free staged reading of a play. Limited tours on board the Amistad will continue. For more information about the festival or general information about the Amistad, call (203) 499-3894 or visit www.amistadamerica.org. The following is a description of Yale-related events.

Peabody Museum of Natural History

"The African Roots of the Amistad Rebellion: Masks of the Sacred Bush" will open at the Peabody Museum of Natural History on Saturday, July 15, and will remain on view through December 2001. Most of the Amistad captives were Mende from Sierra Leone and Liberia in West Africa. The Peabody's private collection of West African masks and other artifacts from Sierra Leone, complemented by rare photographs and field recordings of Mende initiation rites, will illuminate the cultural traditions of the Mende and give a deeper sense of context to the Amistad events.

The Peabody Museum of Natural History, 170 Whitney Ave., is open 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday and noon-5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $5 for adults, and $3 for children aged 3-15 and senior citizens aged 65 and older. For more information, call the InfoTape at (203) 432-5050 or visit www.peabody.yale.edu.

Sterling Memorial Library

"The Amistad Affair" will be on view at the Sterling Memorial Library Tuesday, July 11, through August. Original letters, documents and drawings of those involved in the Amistad incident will be on display. Highlights include the letter written by the rebel leader of the Amistad captives to defense attorney Roger Sherman Baldwin. "You tell our judges let us free," wrote Sengbe Pieh (also known as Joseph Cinque) in halting English on Feb. 9, 1841. In another letter, former President John Quincy Adams, who defended the Mende captives in the U.S. Supreme Court, writes to Baldwin, "The decision of the Supreme Court in the case of the Amistad has this moment been delivered by Judge Story. The captives are free." The letter is dated March 9, 1841, and signed, "Yours in great haste and great joy, J.Q. Adams."

The Sterling Memorial Library is located at 120 High St., and is open 8:30 a.m.- 5 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; 8:30 a.m.-10 p.m. on Thursday; and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday.

Yale University Art Gallery

"Imaging African Art: Documentation and Transformation" is on view at the Yale University Art Gallery now through July 30. Featuring 43 works, most photo-based, by 12 artists of both European and African descent, the exhibition takes as its focal point the African diaspora -- the migrations, ruptures and displacements of peoples of African descent and their struggles to reconnect with their cultural heritage. A highlight is a group of gelatin silver prints from Carrie Mae Weems' "Slave Coast" series recording the now-desolate slave forts and dungeons on the West African coast from which millions of chained Africans were shipped across the Atlantic.

The Yale University Art Gallery, 1111 Chapel St., is open Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sunday, 1-6 p.m. For more information, call (203) 432-0600 or visit www.yale.edu/artgallery.

"Hearing Amistad"

Kay George Roberts, the first woman to receive the Doctor of Musical Arts in orchestral conducting from Yale in 1986, will conduct the New Haven Symphony Orchestra and a community chorus at 6 p.m. on Saturday, July 15, on the New Haven Green. The concert will feature works by African American composers on the Middle Passage, and the struggle for freedom and the Black experience in America. Concert-goers are invited to bring blankets, lawn chairs and a picnic dinner.


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School of Music awards first Simeone scholarship

Rubenfeld named to Law School's Slaughter chair

Events to celebrate the arrival of 'Amistad' ship



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Study proposes tax on snack foods to fight obesity

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Comer lauded as leader in American education

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Diana D. Brooks resigns her post as Yale trustee

David Bromwich earns prestigious award for his literary works

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