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The mission of Amistad America is to teach the important lessons of history inherent in the Amistad incident of 1839. Amistad serves as an enduring symbol of unity and the human struggle for freedom. In shedding light on the facts of our collective history and the legacy of the transatlantic slave trade, Amistad America provides a peaceful means by which individuals and communities can learn together and address the issues of racism and intolerance with a positive goal of building bridges of mutual respect and understanding.

We believe that through the development of a comprehensive understanding of the Amistad Story, participants acquire a broader appreciation of the international and interconnected history of the world. This foundation of understanding allows for the development of critical thinking skills and a greater appreciation for the complex legacy that remains as the result of the systematic exploitation of more than 400 years of chattel slavery.



Freedom Schooner Amistad, Connecticut’s Official Tallship & Goodwill Ambassador, is sailing proudly again after a two year hiatus and a series of repairs following a 2010 visit to the Dominican Republic and Cuba.

Wry Bread performs at 1st Annual Down Below Dinner aboard the Amistad

The summer started on a musical note during the 1st Annual Down Below Dinner.  Swirls of music and food filled the air as we welcomed the beginning of another sailing season.  Contra Dance Caller Bill Fischer and musicians from Wry Bread sang and played with much rejoice.  We look forward to next year's send off!

June 14th marked the first port visit in Norwich, CT as part of the Freedom Bell Commemoration.  Amistad crew and volunteers provided tours to several thousand people who visited the vessel to learn the powerful Connecticut story that inspired the creation of the replica built at the Mystic Seaport and launched in 2000. The weekend commemorated the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Gail Adams of the U.S. Interior Department (left) visits the Amistad. President and CEO of Amistad America Inc., Gregory Belanger (right) introduces Ms. Adams.

The Norwich weekend featured a special reception and presentation by Gail Adams- Director of the Office of Intergovernmental & External Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior.   Amistad America invited Director Adams to Connecticut following a series of discussions about a the National Tourism Strategy to increase international travel to and within the United States, including to historic sites like Norwich.

Continued planning with Ms. Adams has resulted in an outline of the key national role the Amistad will play in the Civil War 150th Anniversary initiative targeted for the eastern and southern shorelines of the United States beginning in 2013.  Building on past achievements of the Amistad– on U.S. public diplomacy missions from Africa to Cuba, and through educational visits to dozens of American ports which have drawn tens of thousands of visitors – the Amistad helps reflect the shared legacy of the Atlantic slave trade and the freedom of four million enslaved Africans.

Watch the Freedom Schooner Amistad dock in Norwich with Mayor Peter Nystrom's welcome

OPSAIL 2012 NEW LONDON | JULY 6-9 2012

The Amistad also participated in this year’s highly successful OpSail in New London, once again affording an opportunity to speak with hundreds of visitors about the history of the vessel, and the mission of Amistad America, to teach the lessons inherent in the story, to promote learning about the transatlantic slave trade and to promote respectful dialogue about that history and race in today’s world.


After an amazing week back at Mystic Seaport the Amistad crew finished the re-rigging and graced the vessel once again with her top masts, top yards and bowsprit. Under the direction of Captain Michael Moreland and 1st mate Paul Bracken (who both previously sailed with the Amistad on her voyage in Sierra Leone in 2008) the crew completed the up-rigging and passed a rigorous USCG inspection prior to leaving US waters.

Crew Parade. Halifax, Novia Scotia, Canada. 


Amistad crew had four glorious days of sailing weather and reached the shores of Halifax on July 20th as part of ASTA’s Tallships Challenge. Many of the crew were coming home to Canada and are a stellar group of sailors who work with Canada’s very own Picton Castle.  Scores of visitors learned of the Amistad story and Connecticut’s historical role in the fight for freedom and justice.


In Lunenburg Nova Scotia, Freedom Schooner Amistad had the prestigious honour to host Canada’s 3 Aboriginal leaders and 10 Premiers. 1 from each Canadian province and territory were welcomed aboard Amistad for an afternoon sail organized by Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter. Read more →

Canada's Premiers and Aboriginal Leaders enjoyed a day sail aboard the Freedom Schooner Amistad as part of their annual summit. Read more →

The final visit of the 2012 Canadian tour was to Birchtown /Shelburne where we reunited with the Black Loyalists of Nova Scotia.  Freedom Schooner Amistad was warmly received and helped to celebrate the groundbreaking ceremony for the community’s new cultural history museum.  CLICK HERE to learn more about their incredible history.

Freedom Schooner Amistad heading south toward Shelburne/Birchtown, Novia Scotia, Canada- July 2012

WOW!  What a summer!! We would like to extend our gratitude to the, Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, Amistad Committee, Mystic Seaport & Museum,  Henry B. duPont Preservation Shipyard, City of Norwich, City of New London, Sankofa Consulting Strategies, Nomadic Wax, ASTA, Canadian Government and the crew of the Picton Castle- for enabling the mission of Amistad America to continue.

We would also like to personally thank Captain Sean Bercaw, Shipwright Quentin Snediker, Activist Al Marder, Historian Dale Plummer, Reverend Greg Perry, Volunteer Extraordinaire Sherwood “Woody” Lewis and every crew member and volunteer who chipped in, helped out and hung in to see the Amistad sail again this summer.



The Amistad is currently in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia to complete ship maintenance before heading south.   Amistad will return home to Connecticut this fall docking in New London and New Haven before departing for winter programming in the Caribbean.  Please contact us at 203-903-1807 for information about deck tours, programs, crewing and volunteering!


 Amistad America Inc., is a New Haven, Connecticut based, internationally recognized non-profit that owns and operates the Freedom Schooner Amistad- Connecticut's Official Tallship & Goodwill Ambassador.

Amistad board member Wayne Bartow teaches the Amistad Incident of 1839 to visitors in Norwich.

Gail Adams, representing the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, in Norwich.

Thousands watched as the Freedom Schooner Amistad took her place in the Opsail New London parade. In this picture Amistad is lowering her foresail in the distance.

Meet Norwich City Historian Dale Plummer! Dale and rest of the Emancipation Proclamation Commemoration Committee made our time in Norwich possible! THANK YOU!! Check out this great article on Mr. Plummer →

Amistad hosted 16 year old Ethan Bowers of Bridgeport, CT this summer in our Youth Apprenticeship Program. Ethan learned the history and impact of the Amistad Incident, how to teach that story along with sail training and the meaning of, "SHIP, SHIPMATE, SELF"

Canada's top leaders wave to the cameras as they depart for a day sail aboard the Amistad ♥ Maritime Museum of the Atlantic ♥ Lunenburg, NS, CN

Crew in action!

As Connecticut's Tallship & Goodwil Ambassador Freedom Schooner Amistad sails the world to; teach the lessons of perseverance, collaboration and justice that the Amistad Incident of 1839 reminds us of; and to represent Connecticut and the United States as believers in the rights for freedom and equality for all.



The Amistad Story

The Amistad Story 

Educational Programs

Educational Programs

Events Calendar

Events Calendar 

Amistad Online News

Amistad Online News