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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
New London in New London County, Connecticut — The American Northeast (New England)
 

First Step to Freedom

 
 
First Step to Freedom Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, May 28, 2013
1. First Step to Freedom Marker
Inscription. On this site, August 29. 1839, federal investigative inquiry indicted 38 enslaved Mende Africans accused of revolt on the high seas and murder of the Captain and cook of the Spanish slave ship Amistad which was captured and brought into New London by U. S. Revenue Cutter Washington, Lt Gedney Commanding.

This first step to freedom revealed resources which ultimately through trials in Hartford and New Haven and an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court by former President John Quincy Adams won their liberty as persons to return home by missionary ship to Sierra Leone in 1841.

Thames River waves lapped against the white-striped loft black hull of Amistad for 14 months until it was refurbished and sold for salvage nearby at Joseph Lawrence’s dock. The cargo of silks, satins and other treasures were auctioned off at this Custom House on these front steps.

Amistad had unjustly held leader Joseph Cinque and his people as slaves in its hold before it became the vehicle for their passage to freedom. Never before, or since, has there been record of such freedom won!
 
Location. 41° 21.133′ N, 72° 5.75′ W. Marker is in New London, Connecticut, in New London County. Marker is on Bank Street just east of Pearl Street. Click for map.
First Step to Freedom Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, May 28, 2013
2. First Step to Freedom Marker
The plaque is located in between the two pillars.
The plaque is at the base of the steps of the Custom House which is now the New London Maritime Museum. Marker is in this post office area: New London CT 06320, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. "Do you want to be slave or free?" (a few steps from this marker); New London Whalemen (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Shaw Mansion (about 700 feet away); 15 Bank Street (about 800 feet away); a different marker also named Shaw Mansion (about 800 feet away); 16 Bank Street (about 800 feet away); The Submarine Industry (approx. 0.2 miles away); The 19th Century Port (approx. 0.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in New London.
 
Categories. African AmericansPatriots & Patriotism
 
First Step to Freedom Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, May 28, 2013
3. First Step to Freedom Marker
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234. This page has been viewed 290 times since then and 6 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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