Cesar Perales - Secretary of State
John P. King - Commissioner of Education
Nancy L. Zimpher - SUNY Chancellor
|Nuriyah Angela Marie Boné-Owens|
|Julius D. Edwards|
|Sylvia Wong Lewis|
|Robert V. Lloyd|
|Jacqueline Musiitwa, Esq.|
|Mary Theresa Streck|
New York State’s Amistad Commission, comprised of 19 members, is charged with researching and surveying the extent to which the African slave trade and slavery in America is included in the curricula of New York state schools, and make recommendations to the Governor and Legislature regarding the implementation of education and awareness programs in New York 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.
In 2005, New York’s Legislature created an Amistad Commission to review state curriculum regarding the slave trade. All people should know of and remember the human carnage and dehumanizing atrocities committed during the period of the African slave trade and slavery in America and consider the vestiges of slavery in this country. It is vital to educate our citizens on these events, the legacy of slavery, the sad history of racism in this country, and on the principles of human rights and dignity in a civilized society.
New Jersey, Illinois and New York have each created commissions to review how Black history and 250 years of slavery are taught in America’s classrooms. The commissions are called "Amistad Commissions" after the Amistad, a Spanish slave ship that was the site of a famous slave revolt in 1839. The U.S. Supreme Court eventually granted those slaves their freedom. The slave revolt was the basis for a popular movie by Steven Spielberg, ''Amistad,'' in 1997.
It is the policy of the state of New York that the history of the African slave trade, slavery in America, the depth of their impact in our society, and the triumphs of African-Americans and their significant contributions to the development of this country is the proper concern of all people, particularly students enrolled in the schools of the state of New York.
The Amistad Commission will provide appropriate memorialization of the events concerning the enslavement of Africans and their descendants in America, as well as their struggle for freedom and liberty. In addition, it will develop workshops, institutes, seminars, teacher training activities, and other means of addressing slavery, racism, and human rights, as well as compile a roster of individual volunteers who are willing to share their knowledge and experience with the state’s students and educators.