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Exhibit Theme

The Amistad

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Lithograph, Joseph Cinquez (Cinque...
Image Caption

Lithograph, Joseph Cinquez (Cinque) (Sengbe Pieh), c. 1839

Sengbe Pieh, known as Joseph Cinquez (Cinque), a Mendi chief of Sierra Leone, led the Amistad mutineers. This lithograph, distributed by the New York Sun newspaper, misidentified Cinquez as Congolese but used his celebrity to promote abolition. It quotes his speech to his fellow mutineers after they had seized control of the Amistad.

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Brothers, we have done that which we purposed, our hands are now clean, for we have Striven to regain the precious heritage we received from our fathers…I am resolved that it is better to die than be a white man’s slave… .

Art by Isaac or James Sheffield, lithography by Moses Yale Beach, Boston: Joseph A. Arnold

Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress