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SUBJECTS — U.S./1812 - 1860 (slavery, abolitionists; the Courts); Diversity;
SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING — Justice; Courage; Rebellion;
MORAL-ETHICAL EMPHASIS — Respect; Caring; Citizenship.
Age: 14+; Rated R (for violence & language); Drama; 1996; 138 minutes; Color.
In 1839, slaves held captive aboard the ship La Amistad revolted, took control of the vessel, and tried to sail it back to Africa. The ship was seized by an American frigate and taken to the U.S., setting off a controversy that placed the courts in conflict with the President and raised the consciousness of the North about the evils of slavery. The La Amistad incident was a milestone in the development of the abolitionist movement.
The TeachWithMovies.com Learning Guide to Amistad helps teachers introduce the horrors of the slave trade and the divisive nature of the slavery issue in the United States. The background and discussion questions in the Guide will also help acquaint children with the lasting results of this incident, the separation of powers in the U.S. government, the workings of the court system, the importance of treaties, salvage on the high seas, and the historical figure of John Quincy Adams.
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Amistad shows the horror of the slave trade. The TWM Learning Guide will provide a unique perspective for lesson plans on the movement to abolish slavery.
Learning Guide Excerpt
To demonstrate how TWM's Learning Guides can be used by teachers to improve their lesson plans, we have set out below two paragraphs from the Learning Guide to Amistad.
The second lasting effect was that the committee of abolitionists formed to defend and care for the Amistad Africans stayed together and has been a force for good ever since. After the captives returned to Africa, the committee sent a mission to Christianize them and other Africans. The committee developed into the American Missionary Association ("AMA") when it merged with two other missionary antislavery societies in 1846. For the next hundred years, the AMA sought to enhance educational opportunities for blacks and other minorities in the United States.
After 1850, the AMA focused primarily on abolitionist activities. During the Civil War the AMA opened schools for slaves freed by the Union Armies. These schools were actually open to all students and often operated as integrating institutions during Reconstruction. As the South recovered from the effects of the war and developed public school systems, the AMA gave its elementary and secondary schools, numbering more than 500, to state and local governments. It then concentrated on improving and expanding colleges for blacks in the South. Ten predominantly black colleges arose from the AMA's efforts: Atlanta University, Berea College, Dillard University, Fisk University, Hampton Institute (now Hampton University), Howard University, Huston-Tillotson College, Le Moyne College, Talladega College, and Tougaloo College. The AMA also conducted educational and other social programs for Native Americans, Asians, and migrant laborers.
The Learning Guide to the film Amistad contains sections on Benefits of the Movie, Possible Problems, Helpful Background, Discussion Questions, Links to the Internet, and Bridges to Reading. The Discussion Questions are divided into three categories: Subject Matter, Social-Emotional Learning, and Moral-Ethical Emphasis.
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