lundi 3 octobre 2011

Sierra Leone: The unusual fate of Sengbe Pieh also known as Joseph Cinque.

"Let my people go!"

        
In 1963, when Dr. Albert John Luthuli, leader of South Africa's African National Congress (ANC) and the first Black African Nobel Peace Prize in 1961, published his autobiography under the title of Biblical "Let my people", he was convinced that Blacks in South Africa, which bent under the yoke of apartheid minority regime will one day become free like the Jews fleeing Egyptian bondage of the Pharaoh Ramses II under the leadership of Moses.
        
This is also the prophetic words uttered Sengbe Pieh in 1839 during a Sunday sermon. His story ended slavery of blacks in the United States in 1841.
        
Three times, "Let my people go," issued the African slavery.

Sengbe Pieh, reluctant hero!

        
Sengbe Pieh was born in 1813 at Mani in Sierra Leone to the Mende tribe. At the age of 26, he was captured in his village and sold to a Spanish slave trader who sold him with 28 other slaves (male and female) to Jose Ruiz, a producer of sugarcane on the island of Cuba.
        
During the transfer on board "Amistad" Colon Jose Ruiz, Cinque organizes the slave revolt. The Slaves killed the captain of the Amistad and part of its crew and forcing the rest of the crew to bring them back in Africa.
        
Instead of Africa, their ship was diverted to U.S. waters where they are detained by the U.S. Navy and charged with piracy and murder.
        
A group of American abolitionists founded the “Amistad Committee” to defend Sengbe Pieh and his fellow prisoners before the U.S. courts.
        
In March 1841, former President of the United States, John Quincy Adams volunteered to defend the cause of Cinque and his unfortunate companions to the Supreme Court of the United States.
        
Having won the case, who became famous by the nickname James Cinque is used to defend the abolition of the slave in America.         
The suicide of his colleague, Foon in January 1842 pushed the U.S. to hasten the return to Africa of 42 survivors of the Amistad.           
Accompanied by the missionaries, they are returned to Sierra Leone after three years of negotiations. He was then 29 years.
        
After a life back to normal, he died in 1879. The Amistad committee continued his anti-slavery campaign by displaying his portraits in places and by teaching his epic in primary and secondary schools.
        
Sierra Leone honored him by printing his image on its first banknotes. In 1996, the American filmmaker Stephen Spielberg immortalized in the movie "Amistad" with the role of Cinque with the Benin actor Djimon Hounsou.

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