To honor and remember the slaves who won their freedom in the landmark 1841 Supreme Court case United States v. Schooner Amistad, Assembly Democrats Annette Quijano, Benjie Wimberly and Shavonda Sumter sponsor a resolution that would designate an ‘Amistad Day’ in New Jersey. The legislation unanimously passed the full Assembly on Monday.
In the Amistad case, the Supreme Court decided that a group of Africans, who had revolted and seized control of a boat named ‘La Amistad’ after being abducted from present-day Sierra Leone and sold at auction, should be freed and returned to Africa.
The resolution (AJR-59) would designate February 28 of each year as Amistad Day in recognition of the importance of the Amistad case in the American abolitionist movement and the global fight for liberty and equality.
The resolution’s sponsors, Assembly members Quijano (D-Union), Wimberly (D-Bergen, Passaic) and Sumter (D-Bergen, Passaic), issued the following joint statement:
“African-American history is American history, which is why it is so important to raise awareness and educate New Jerseyans about the pivotal moments in our nation’s history that are too often ignored or dismissed. By designating February 28th as Amistad Day, we can ensure that this important moment in history is not lost.
“The decision in the Amistad case was a defining moment in the battle against slavery in the United States. Although it did not abolish slavery, the case played a critical role in the abolitionist movement and it deserves to be commemorated annually throughout New Jersey.”
The measure now heads to the Senate.