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A Very Rare Signature of Cinque, the Amistad Revolt Leader

Cinque was an almost mythic figure during the controversies and legal cases surrounding the slave ship Amistad in 1839-1841. He freed himself and the other Africans in the hold of the Amistad, initiated the revolt that captured the ship, and led the ships’ voyage from waters near Cuba to the United States. After being captured off the coast of Long Island, while imprisoned in Connecticut as the Africans’ status was debated by the U.S. Supreme Court, Cinque learned to speak and write English. (That they spoke Mende was discovered by a linguistics professor at Yale, who then found translators—two escaped slaves who spoke both languages).

After winning their freedom, Cinque and some others embarked on a lecture tour to New York and Philadelphia in May 1841 to raise funds for their return home. Their enthusiastic reception by the abolitionist movement made for a busy schedule.  Among the stops, Cinque visited the Lombard Street School for black children in Philadelphia. 

This autograph, signed at the Lombard school on May 27, 1841, is one of only two or three known original signatures of Cinque.

CINQUE. Autograph as Leader of the Amistad Captives. Philadelphia, Pa., May 27, 1841. 1 p. Also signed by F-foole [Fuli]. With two endorsements in unknown hand, the later one possibly written by Charles Evans in pencil. Inventory #21884

Owning History!

We can help you enjoy an inspirational connection to your favorite historic figure, event, or idea.

Important documents and artifacts can be loaned, placed on deposit, or donated to ensure their survival for generations to come. Seth Kaller, Inc. can coordinate all aspects of collection-building, including acquisition, authentication, appraisal, conservation, framing, insurance, and recognition for your family, your company, or your foundation. 

Items presented here are drawn from our broad inventory. We have many more original documents and collections, ranging from $100 to millions of dollars, please contact us if you have specific interests.


Seth Kaller is a leading expert in acquiring, authenticating, and appraising rare historic documents and artifacts. Kaller has built museum-quality collections for individuals and institutions, as well as legacy collections for philanthropists to donate. He has handled important manuscripts,  documents and rare books relating to the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution; leaves from George Washington’s draft of his inaugural address; Abraham Lincoln’s “House Divided” manuscript and signed copies of the Thirteenth Amendment and the Emancipation Proclamation; and Robert E. Lee’s farewell to his troops. 

We are members of the Professional Autograph Dealers Association (PADA), Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America (ABAA) and the Manuscript Society.


 

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