Joseph Cinque
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Joseph Cinque

Amistad

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About Him

Grew Up… in West Africa. His life in Africa was close to nature, tribal, and full of life and promise. Unfortunately, Western slave traders began raiding villages and kidnapping Africans of all kinds, taking them back to the United States and making them slaves.

Living… in captivity in 1839. Cinque has been living in a series of different captivities ever since he was kidnapped from his village, where he was a farmer and head of his family, and brought to Lomboko, a slave facility in Sierra Leone. On the Spanish ship La Amistad, Cinque led a slave rebellion, killing his captors and attempting to guide the ship back to Africa. He was again detained and questioned in a U.S. court case revolving around La Amistad and the slave rebellion.

Profession… farmer-turned-slave. Cinque had everything taken away from him. His family, his farm, his life. He was taken into slavery against his will and without notice. Overnight, his life was turned completely upside down. But Cinque wasn’t going to disappear into servitude without a fight. 

Interests… family, culture, freedom, justice.

Relationship Status… married. Cinque’s wife and child are back in West Africa, without any knowledge of Cinque’s whereabouts. His only wish is to return to his family and regain the life he left there.

Challenge… freeing himself from the shackles of slavery. Cinque fought for his freedom viciously, and the fight is not yet over. He will have to face an onslaught of equally vicious legal battles before he has any chance of going home.

Personality… strong-willed, intelligent if uneducated by Western standards, loving. Cinque is a tragic hero whose actions are controversial but understood by many. Even white men flock to defend his side of the story. Cinque is blessed to have so many people interested in helping him, especially now in his greatest time of need, when most of the world considers him less than human. His cause is righteous, but will that be enough to prevail?

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