One of the requisites of my 8th grade history class was to watch the movie version of Amistad - it had come out only a year or so before. I remember the movie being powerful and moving, however I need to see it again to refresh my memory. To that effect, I didn't remember that John Quincy Adams was involved in the Amistad trial until I read it in Paul C. Nagel's John Quincy Adams: A Public Life, A Private Life.
John Q. Adams was the principal attorney for the Africans and defended their right to be free and not returned to Spain. He made a speech that was approximately 8 hours long before he finally closed their argument. His arguments ultimately won them their freedom.
Did you know that he never changed anyone for his legal fees?
I wanted to share some awesome references that I found in relation to JQA and this historic case:
Here is JQA's 8 hour speech-
Here are visuals of a letter written by JQA requesting the papers in relation to the lower court proceedings for this case which came prior to the Supreme Court - Pg 1 and Pg 2 -
And finally, here is a video clip from the Amistad movie representing JQA's 8 hour speech as performed by Anthony Hopkins:
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