The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on December 7, 1997 · Page 147
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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 147

West Palm Beach, Florida
Issue Date:
Sunday, December 7, 1997
Page 147
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THE PALM BEACH POST SUNDAY, DECEMBER 7, 1997 7J f Amistad survivors dropped from sight '-"" -. "Vjr" . .in iijlr"iif rrv ' UNtTEDmTS UMTEUAHIISTS j UMITEUAHHSTS i HEGAL CINEMAS i UNiTEDAHTISTS i: REGAL CINEMAS B0YKTQN BEACH hbucthiaktiuce NVMBWEnAZAI LAKE WORTH 8 : OKEE SQUARE ' JUPITER 14 736-5770 I The events that inspired the major motion picture Mutiny on the Amistad wmm 0WIH1I1 ii i Wn ot-AI Hh.MAS I I 8EGAiCIMMAS 1 I UNTfP ARTlSTS I I TtD W'tfT? ' KWM JUPITBI HOVESAfWERBnDGE HOWESemOMEWOE 2900 Confess An JS 1 1 iikJuihow Road I 6846 Ewst Hril 8W fti.MW "m-WCAi H TU 0027 747-7333 1 1 611310? 1 1 Bl 76M NOW A tale of historic mutiny From Mutiny On The Amistad, by Howard Jones: "The Amistad mutiny made an indelible mark on history. Besides being pure drama, the event raised questions about the relevance of race and slavery to the nineteenth century definition of liberty ... It demonstrated not only black resistance to slavery but also those interracial attempts to achieve the blacks' freedom . . . "The parallels between the strategy used in the Amistad case and that of later civil rights activists are especially striking. Both groups' . . . strategy rested on placing the profound differences between positive (man-made) and natural law before the American people, hoping they might see the need for changing the Constitution and American laws to comply with the moral principles contained in the Declaration of Independence." CHECK TIME CLOCK FOR SH0WTIMES ISPtClAi EKAffKH l PASSES OR DISCOUWT TCtfTS CgmP Howard Jones Revised Edition UNITED ARTISTS B0YNT0N BEACH UNITED ARTISTS 0XEE SQUARE 2025 OKEECHOBEE BLVD. 697-7714 UNITED ARTISTS PROMENADE PLAZA 8 ALT A1 A & LIGHTHOUSE DR. t 624-2664 244 N. CONGRESS 736-5770 UNITED ARTISTS REGAL CINEMA LAKE WORTH 8 IWLliJNGTONrviarlACEl REGAL CINEMA JUPITER 14 USUINDLANT0WNR0AD 747-7333 LAKE WORTH RD.&57TH AVE. 13881 WELLINGTON TRACE 795-3887 964-5555 'If you believe that slavery was the root of the Civil War, as I do, the Amistad incident raised the issue in the national consciousness in a truly compelling way. ' HOWARD JONES ONE OF THE BEST AMERICAN MOVIES OF THE YEAR! 'Midnight' is extremely funny!" Jnnwi Vcmiere. HOSTON HERALD "A BEAUTIFULLY REALIZED TREATMENT OF THE BEST SELLING NOVEL about high crimes and misdemeanors in Savannah, Georgia." Gem SiAW. CHICAGO TRIBUNE court, even if through a translator." The 35 Amistad survivors, including Cinque, arrived in Africa aboard the ship Gentleman in January 1842, nearly three years after they had left their homeland. Cinque disappeared. There are stories that he joined the slave trade himself, but Jones said there's no evidence of this. "And we don't know if he found his wife and three children. My guess is that he goes back to Africa, and what with tribal wars and slavery, he simply figures that his family was either dead or had been caught up in slavery themselves." Jones has become friendly with a Memphis man who thinks Cinque is an ancestor. No proof of that, either, but the pair may go to Sierra Leone and try to trace Cinque. "His name was Pieh. But I don't know if that's rare or not. It might be like Smith or Jones." Cinque, on the other hand, has a ring that's about to get even louder. JOHN CUS ACK KEVIN SPACE Y "We watched them do the mutiny scene, and it was absolute chaos and very powerful," he said. "Cinque comes out of the hold and buries this sugar cane knife in the back of the captain, and then there's 'Cut! Cut! More blood! More blood!' " Jones said he'd hate to see sex or phony characters in the flick, but he trusts Spielberg, based on Schindler's List. Johnson, who has seen the film, called it "powerful" and largely accurate. "The story of the Africans and their fight for freedom remains at the center of the story, and that's important. There's some dramatic license, and I'm sorry that some characters were played differently from who they were in real life." He cited Matthew McCon-aughey's portrayal of abolitionist attorney Roger Baldwin. And Morgan Freeman's character is a composite, even though Johnson argued to portray a real one. "There were many real-life black abolitionists." No matter how you do the movie, Jones said, "it's the first civil rights case in American history. Biacks actually testified in -. A fabulously assured and entertaining film. COME AWARDS SEASON, MIDNIGHT' WILL BE A FORMIDABLE CONTENDER." Siisuii Shirk. DETROIT NEWS "A SMOKY, SOUTHERN MURDER MYSTERY, packed with wit, old secrets and incredible characters." Pal Collins. WWOR TV "BEGUILING. ENIQIE. HAUNTING." Carrie Rickey. PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER "A MYSTERY LACED WITH CLASS AM) SASS." Cifnc Sluilil. TODAY." NHC-TV "A funky fusion of southern gentility and mojo melodrama that's ALWAYS EIVTERTAIIVIIVG.B Devuiii Hiwt: WASHINGTON POST "Eastwood's ELEGANTLY CRAFTED 'Midnight' preserves the tone of the book and brings its gorgeous moss-draped setting to life." Jut k ,Vffi7tnrv NEW YORK NHWSDAY AMISTAD From 1J Amistad Research Center at Tu-lane University, who served as consultant to the film. "As a historian, I have to admit that he is more powerful in getting his message across than we are." . And why is it so important? - "If you believe that slavery was the root of the Civil War, as I do, the Amistad incident raised the issue in the national consciousness in a truly compelling way," said author Jones, chairman of the history department at the University of Alabama. He'll also be a "talking head" on the A&E special. I "What the episode really did was shatter the central myth of slavery. Namely, that black people were docile, passive sambos who accepted their position, that slavery suited their nature, and that they were better off on plantations than in Africa." ) Here were Africans fresh from the continent, who weren't raised on plantations, who had their own culture and beliefs, and who certainly had no taste for slavery. The affair contains the kind of melodramatic stuff that would attract a big-time Hollywood director. It featured a shipboard revolt, followed by a meandering, two-month voyage full of trickery and desperation. There were also political shenanigans and courtroom theatrics. The latter culminated in an impassioned address before the U.S. Supreme Court by former President John Quincy Adams, whose father had signed the Declaration of Independence proclaiming the equality of all men before God. The Amistad affair even had a happy ending in fact, if a mixed one in law. The Africans were freed to return to their homeland present day Sierra Leone where they promptly disappeared from history, if not speculation. ; Africa was where it all began, when a 25-year-old named Sengbe Pieh was kidnapped from his rice field by four Africans. Pieh was marched to the coast, and stuffed aboard a Portuguese slaver for the infamous Middle Passage to Havana. There he was renamed Joseph Cinque and was quickly sold, along with 52 other Africans, most from the same Mende tribe. " The Africans were put aboard the Spanish ship La Amistad it means "Friendship" which set sail for the east of Cuba. Through sign language, Cinque asked the ship's mulatto cook about his fate. The cook pointed to an empty meat barrel, and indicated that the Africans would be killed and eaten. '; Bad joke. Cinque managed to remove his chains. Armed with cane knives, the Africans killed the captain and cook. Two crewmen jumped overboard, and two slave owners were captured. The Africans demanded to return home. But the Spaniards tricked them. They struck a zigzag course northward. The journey ended at the tip of Long Island, where the ship was impounded by the U.S. Navy and the Africans thrown in the clink. , However, jail happened to be in Connecticut, where slavery was legal, not New York, where it wasn't. That set the stage for a monumental legal battle. Enter the abolitionists. They were on the political fringe, and were often at odds with each other over tactics and ideology. As Jones points out, Christian evangelists believed slavery was a personal sin, and should be stamped out by any means. Another Christian wing believed simple moral suasion would do the trick. A third group of pragmatists believed that the battle would be won bit by bit in the nation's courtrooms and political back rooms. The Amistad brought the three groups together. "(Abolitionist) Lewis Tappen, who funded the defense case, called the Amistad a Providential occurrence," said Jones. "He believed that God had brought the ship to him." The case drew national attention. The Africans became celebrities of sorts. Newsmen speculated about them; church-goers prayed for them; pseudo-scientists studied them, and politicians wondered what to do with them. Eventually, a federal court ruled in their favor on the grounds that they were free men who had been kidnapped. Rather than mutineers, they had been caught up in the illegal international slave trade. (Spain and England had signed a treaty prohibiting the further exportation of slaves from Africa.) The Africans had the right to defend themselves. ' But there was more to come. The ruling was appealed. Meanwhile, the administration of President Martin Van Burcn was conniving to have the Africans turned over to vSpanish authorities, citing an 18th-century treaty. Van Buren had no strong feeling about slav- GREAT FILM!" INTfRTMNMfNT WIIKIT WAraBROS.HBM aUUM) miction in ssoaTO tth SHTR PICTURES KEATS" SPACEi" JOHN CUSACK "MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL" "ULLNNLENIHAI'S "'". ARNOLD STIEFEL K ANITA MERMAN .'S TOM ROOKER JOHN LEE HANCOCK BBS few 1 I JOHN BERENDT ."SCUNl LttlHUOU rW t k NOW SHOWING! OHfTtD AflTfSTS UWTE0 ARTISTS UHfTED ARTISTS WGl MOVIES T RIVEPBRIOGE MOVIES T OKEE SQUARE MOVIES AT PR0MEMADE BOYNTON 8 (646 FOREST HILL BtVO 2025 OKEECHOBEE BLVD 30 ALTERNATE A1A-SR811 2290 CONGRESS AVE WEST PALM BEACH WEST PALM BEACH PALM BEACH GARDENS BOVNTON BEACH 641-3102 697-8966 624-2664 734-0049 CLOSE CMfC MOVIE CLOCK FOR IWES ALSO M Biwcniss ii wmcn PAfK Of LUT It SHASOWOOO REGAL JUPITER 14 204 NORTH U S-1 JUPITER WALL 747-7333 Exclusive: 2 4:4S 7:15 9:25 CAREFREE 833-7305 20(10 S De llwy, WPB NEW HOMES NEWS Beat Everyone To The Punch. Special Sneak Preview! ery one way or another. He did want to be re-elected, however, and needed the South to help him. Van Buren would eventually lose the election. "It all backfired o'n him," Jones said. "He was so obviously interfering in the due process of law. He was usurping the rights of the judicial branch. I believe it was an impeachable offense." . . . But the Amistad affair still had one last bang left. It was supplied by John Quincy Adams. Although staunchly anti-slavery, the crusty Adams was no wild-eyed abolitionist. "He was an anti-slavery conservative who believed in order in society," Jones said. "He became genuinely sympathetic to these people (the Africans). He was the one who advised the defense to pursue the kidnapping argument." A scourge of the slave-owning South in the U.S. Congress, Adams also relished a fight. "He loved the battle over principle, and he sincerely believed that slavery violated the Declaration of Independence," Jones said. "He was 74, nearing the end of a remarkable life, and I think he also saw this as his last hurrah." In 1841, Adams delivered an 8'2-hour defense before the U.S. Supreme Court, invoking subtle legal arguments and the not-so-subtle Declaration of Independence. Justice Joseph Story, another anti-slavery conservative from Massachusetts, wrote the majority opinion freeing the captives to return to Africa. He noted, however, that if the the Spaniards had proven ownership of the Africans, he would have been obliged to return them to Cuba and almost certain execution. Still, the abolitionists trumpeted the decision as an unalloyed victory. It was a partial one, but important, according to Jones. lie said the crux of the Amistad issue was the distinction between natural and positive (man-made) law. "That's how Adams framed the question. He cited the Declaration that all men were created equal. That was a natural law. He was speaking for the past generations. He was speaking for his father's generation, saying Americans had lost their way over slavery. "It's human rights versus property rights," Jones added. "This tension between the two could be seen in the civil rights movement of the 1950s, and it's still with us today in the various ways we view discrimination and how to address the problem." Jones isn't a consultant to the Spielberg movie, but he visited the set. His 1987 book was optioned by TriStar films. Gore Vidal was set to do the screenplay, but it never worked out. Prompted by actress-dancer and Amistad producer Debbie Allen, who had long dreamed of making the film, Spielberg announced he would tackle the subject. A man from Spielberg's Dreamworks studio named Cinque Henderson (honest) invited Jones to California. liimii Srwv ' " TS Vmt? :!(tm Jti BUffi frJMfflifi mm -4; j" It Itchin' to move? Check out the beautiful new home communities in The Post's Friday Real Estate Weekend section. Vw-' L H0MEgjAL0Ne8 mtmrnmn BOYNTON BEACH MX CONMtSS 736-5770 LAKE WORTH I IMC WUH1HKD SS1HAVE 964-5555 There's a new kid on the block. .?8&l.- Himin PROMENADE PUZA 8 SiJCAllfiWMEAIA 624-2664 OKEE SQUARE 2025 GKtitHOeU BLVD. 697-7714 REGAL CINfMAS JUPITER I US 1 A Indianiown Road 747-7333 GFNERAI CINEMA PGA CINEMA 6 4076 PGA Blvd -Loeriimnn'l PUu 626-82B3 CALL THEATRES FOR SHOWUMES WELLINGTON MKT PLACE 13881 KtlUWION IHACE 795-3887 iftu4itwiitin-ioPtWi(iBticowTminaiFTiD: UNITED ARTISTS MOVIES BOYNTON BEACH EonrniSMppn 244N CongrKsAvt 736-5772 UNITED ARTISTS OKEE SQUARE 2025 Okeechobfle Blvd. 697-7714 REGULAR ENGAGEMENT STARTS FRIDAY, DECEMBER 12 SISKEL & EBERT "Two thumbs up!" 4X ' 'I j w' r t r4 i ft Kk (4IBrhl h'T Hi 1 1 t kllhu fanned. RFGA. CINEMAS UUEWOflTHI 5MI jw Worth Hom 964 MAKE THE DISCOVERY TODAY! KW CINFMAS JUPITER I US t i InauMowi Rud 747-? 113 NOW SHOWING! UNITfn ARTISTS OKEE SOUARE 20li DtNCtwUM BM. w n I'WTFP ART!STS MOVIES flOYNTOM BEACH iam SMpm 2 H ungini Aw 736 5772 GENERAL CINf MA PGA CINEMA I 40rcPttM LMhmtnninui 626 tm Rf(iA. CINFMAS JUPITHI S 1 1 irotuiiawm AoM T-73Jj WELUNGTON tlWUfTfUCE 1J8SI Wnogtwi Ti 795-JBli' WW I CINEMAS QUE SQUARE CHECK TIME CLOCK FOR SH0WTIMES SPJCjyiiWMJ twrrrr artists HOWES RIVER flAIDGt W46 hint H" m LWl'flMRWS im mm i' mm GNf Ml riNfMft 62H?M MOVIfS OF DELRAT 7421 W Allan tt Ah 638-OOM Bhti 202 OkmhubN mm CHECK TIME CtOCK FORSHOWllHfS

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