This past Wednesday, August 29th, was the 179th anniversary of the Amistad's capture by the U.S. Coast Guard. I meant to post these photographs right after I returned from Mystic, but life got a little complicated and I ended up in Houston. There is no Douglass connection to Houston except perhaps his brother's brief time in Millican, which is northeast of the city; but I've covered that. That meant catching up, and the semester started, and blah blah blah excuses. So, here we are, pictures about the Amistad from New London.
Learn more about the Amistad rebellion from Marcus Rediker's The Amistad Rebellion: An Atlantic Odyssey of Slavery and Rebellion.
By the way, the organizations formed to aid the defense of the rebels eventually became the American Missionary Association. During the Civil War, before the formation of the Freedman's Bureau but after Emancipation, the AMA was one of the largest organizations to mobilize to meet the basic needs of the formerly enslaved who had become displaced by the conditions of war. Among the first teachers were Helen Pitts and Edmonia Highgate.
Helen Pitts, of course, later became the second Mrs. Frederick Douglass. Edmonia Highgate was a friend of the Douglasses' children and of Jermain Loguen's children. As with Pitts, working in the conditions of Norfolk, Virginia, made her very ill both physically and from what was likely traumatic shock. She returned to Syracuse for a break, during which time Douglass made sure that she testafied about the conditions of the freedpeople to the 1864 "Colored Men's Convention," as they set an agenda for Reconstruction. When she recovered, she returned South to continue her work. She's buried here in Syracuse.
EDMONIA G. HIGHGATE
1844 - 1870
TEACHER, ORATOR, FREEDOM WORKER
She devoted the labors of her brief
life to educating the freed slaves
in the South and her eloquence
enlightened the North to their plight.
For how inspiring the thought that
these dear souls are "Forever Free."