Amistad preparing to leave Freetown in Sierra Leone

Freedom Schooner Amistad currently rests at anchor in the harbor of Freetown, Sierra Leone, the mid-point of its historic 14-month voyage called the Atlantic Freedom Tour. Since departing its home port of New Haven, Connecticut in June, the schooner has made its first transatlantic crossing from Halifax, Nova Scotia to England, calling on the ports of Liverpool, Bristol, (Famous Avon Bridge on the photo) and London as part of an official commemoration of the 200th Anniversary of the abolition of the Atlantic slave trade in the former British Empire.

Traffic stopped in London for a while when Amistad
sailed under the Tower bridge


Under the "Baby" Golden Gate - Sailing on Tagus river in Lisbon

After stops this fall in Lisbon, Portugal and the Canary Islands, Amistad majestically sailed into Freetown harbor in December, welcomed by thousands that gathered to see the international symbol of freedom and justice touch the shores of Sierra Leone, the homeland of the original Amistad captives and the place many of them returned after their ordeal.

Amistad sailing into Freetown in Sierra Leone flying unusually big host country courtesy flag

Thousands have visited the ship since, many of them young school children from Freetown and the city’s outlying towns, where the story of Amistad is recognized in song and art as a part of national lore and pride.

The schooner will depart Freetown with a national farewell celebration on February 3rd and will set sail north, up the coast of West Africa, to join in an international remembrance with Senegal officials and the people of Goree Island, Dakar. Amistad will briefly call upon the historic islands of Cape Verde before beginning its return transatlantic crossing along the route of the infamous Middle Passage.

from left: Cpt. Bill Pinkney, 1st Mate Paul Bracken, 2nd Mate Mike Moreland with a Sierra Leone Navy Sailor.

The historic completion of this solemn leg of the voyage will come with the arrival of the schooner in Barbados. Amistad’s crew and students will conduct programs and sails as part of international programs to convey the rich heritage and culture of the peoples of Africa and the African Diaspora. In May, Amistad will return to North America with an extended port visit to Charleston, South Carolina before returning to its homeport later in the summer.

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I was hoping that I will be able to tell the Amistad stories from the "other" side of the Pond in person during the Annual Meeting in Mystic. Unfortunately the timing coincides with Amistad's Ceremony of departure from Sierra Leone scheduled for the February 3rd. I am involved in filming of a documentary from the Amistad's Atlantic Freedom Tour and will be in Africa at the time.

I recommend reading the Amistad's crew blogs posted on amistadamerica.org and staying tuned for the reports from the ship.

Have a pleasant time during the meeting - I will try to send you some African sunshine...

Fair Winds

Wojtek (Voytec) Wacowski

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Great Update

Keep it coming !!! Thanks