Walker Appointed to Amistad Commission

Published November 22, 2005

SPRINGFIELD — On November 22, 2005, Lee Walker, president of The New Coalition for Economic and Social Change and a senior fellow of The Heartland Institute, was appointed by Illinois Senator Frank Watson (R-Decatur) to the Amistad Commission. The appointment is effective immediately.

The Amistad Commission was established on July 21, 2005 by Public Act 094-0285, under the auspices of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.

According to the Act, the Amistad Commission will “survey, design, encourage, and promote the implementation of education and awareness programs in Illinois that are concerned with the African slave trade, slavery in America, the vestiges of slavery in this country, and the contributions of African-Americans in building our country; to develop workshops, institutes, seminars, and other teacher training activities designed to educate teachers on this subject matter; and that will be responsible for the coordination of events on a regular basis, throughout the State, that provide appropriate memorialization of the events concerning the enslavement of Africans and their descendants in America and their struggle for freedom, liberty, and equality.”

The Commission is named to honor a group of 53 Africans transported in 1839 on the Spanish slave ship Amistad. They overthrew their captors and created an international incident that was eventually argued–with lawyer Roger Baldwin, abolitionist Ted Joadson, and former president John Quincy Adams–before the U.S. Supreme Court. Their rebellion shed light on the evils of the slave trade and galvanized demands for the end of slavery in the United States.

For more information …

The full text of Public Act 94-0285, establishing the Amistad Commission, is available online at http://www.heartland.org/article.cfm?artId=18170.