Donald George, a native of Sierra Leone, told the students the story of La Amistad, a “cargo” ship used to transport slaves in the 1830s.
George first gauged his audience with a quick quiz.
Does anyone know where Sierre Leone is in Africa?
No hands. (It is “just a dot” on the coast of West Africa.)
Does anyone know the historical significance of the country Liberia?
No, he said, to the list of natural resources offered by the students. (It was colonized by the United States of America).
Has anyone seen the move Amistad?
A mere handful.
But George was hardly dismayed.
“This is the kind of audience I want to teach,” he said.
George is an education coordinator aboard the Freedom Schooner, a replica of Amistad, whose main port is in Mystic Seaport, Conn.
“La Amistand was not a slave ship,” George said. It was a cargo ship, whose name meant friendship and whose cargo happened to be people.
Accordingly, more than 500 people were stuffed onto shelves.
“Is it strange” to refer to people as cargo, George asked the audience, walking along the front edge of the stage.
George continued the tale of the slave’s revolt on the ship and their eventual arrival in Connecticut, using it to stress the value of education.
As George explained, a seven-year-old, one of four children on board the Amistad, learned to read and write within nine months of arriving in America, where they were on trial for murder.
For the rest of this article, please see this week's edition of The Cadiz Record.