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Museum Partners with Discovering Amistad on Anti-Racism, Diversity Programming

Schooner Amistad

Schooner AMISTAD at Mystic Seaport Museum, June 2020.

Mystic Seaport Museum and Discovering Amistad announce they are collaborating to develop new programs to combat racism and promote diversity. The schooner Amistad, docked for the summer at the museum, will be a platform for education, discussion, and outreach. The two organizations will combine staff and resources to nurture engagement and meaningful interaction on the subject.

“We are saddened and dismayed by the death of George Floyd and other recent abhorrent acts of racism. Mystic Seaport Museum condemns all forms of racism and discrimination. As a maritime institution, we acknowledge the painful maritime roots in African American history, and we are compelled to act — and that begins with listening. Our two organizations can pull together people of all ages and races to increase awareness of social injustices and take positive, proactive steps that will benefit the broader community,” said Steve White, president of Mystic Seaport Museum.

“Discovering Amistad teaches students and adults about the history of racism in this country. In teaching this history our organization also cites examples of the harm racism brings to all of us, and what steps we all need to take to reduce and eliminate it. The recent hateful and horrific events make it imperative that we work together with Mystic Seaport Museum and others to begin an intensive effort to end racism in this country once and for all,” said Len Miller, chairman of Discovering Amistad.

The two organizations agree that endemic racism is a cancer eroding the values of inclusivity and equality that this country holds dear, and that this moment calls for action at all levels to fight this persistent, toxic presence. They further agree that by combining their assets and capabilities, they can effect a greater impact on the issue than they could alone.

The schooner Amistad is a replica of the ship involved in the 1839 Amistad Uprising, in which a group of captives from Sierra Leone being transported across the Atlantic for the purposes of slavery overpowered the crew and took control of the vessel, eventually ending up in New London, Conn. In a landmark 1841 decision, the US Supreme Court set the captives free.

Discovering Amistad developed an interactive, proprietary curriculum that addresses equity and adheres to the most up-to-date national C3 (College, Career and Civic Life) social studies framework. The lessons begin with the 1839 uprising and the subsequent Supreme Court decision and move through the arc of more than 175 years of history — from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Era and up to the present day. The program is the only one of its kind. With lessons conducted by specially trained educators in classrooms and aboard the ship, history comes to life as the past becomes a framework for addressing present challenges related to diverse social issues.

Details of the joint programming will be released in the coming weeks.

About Discovering Amistad

Discovering Amistad is an educational organization that provides full year programming on its tall ship, The Amistad, in classrooms, and at historic sites of partner organizations. It enables children and adults in Connecticut and the region to discover the story of The Amistad and its impact on the state and the nation. Importantly the Organization provides learning opportunities for children and adults to discover the relevance of The Amistad story to social and racial justice in today’s world. Visit discoveringamistad.org for more information.