Marcus Rediker’s The Amistad Rebellion: An Atlantic Odyssey of Slavery and Freedom is this year’s required reading for new Steinhardt students. The book will be discussed in the New Student Seminar, a course that offers students a way to explore their role in the community using the reading as a guide.
In The Amistad Rebellion, Rediker tells the story of how a small group of courageous men fought and won an epic battle against Spanish and American slaveholders and their governments and helped to inspire and build a movement that was part of a grand, global struggle against slavery.
In Steinhardt’s New Student Seminar, students will look at the book from historical, political, and artistic perspectives.
Patricia Carey, associate dean for student services, noted that as the U.S. stands at a moment of social change, the book serves as an important tool to organize student’s thinking about the kind of world they want to live in.
“The Amistad Rebellion gives us a working definition of what it means to be free,” Carey said. “This year we mark the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation which freed slaves in confederate states and set in motion our present day civil rights movements. We’ll be asking our students to think about freedom and how it relates to who they are and how it might influence who they will be.”
As part of the seminar, students will get a chance to see how the Amistad rebellion influenced a former NYU art professor by visiting the exhibit, Rising Up: Hall Woodruff’s Murals at Talladega College, on display at the Steinhardt’s NYU 80WSE Gallery.
Woodruff (1900-1980), a professor emeritus, taught art at the School of Education from 1948 through 1968. A muralist, he honed his craft with Diego Rivera in Mexico, and was hailed as one of the greatest African American artists of his time.