Backstory and Context
In 1839, 53 kidnapped Mendi Africans rebelled against their Spanish slave-trader captures aboard the Amistad. The surviving Africans would go on to win their freedom in the United States' Supreme Court. While they raised funds to return to present-day Sierra Leone, they found refuge in the town of Farmington, Connecticut. One of the Mendi girls was housed in the Smith-Cowles House.
The Smith family would continue in abolitionist efforts, their home becoming an Underground Railroad safehouse. After his parents' deaths, Samuel Smith Cowles inherited the house, continued his parents' abolitionist efforts, and became editor of the abolitionist newspaper The Charter Oak. Today the house is a private residence and is not open to the public, but is included on the Farmington Freedom Trail.
Abolitionism, Historic Buildings of Connecticut. Accessed October 15th 2020. http://historicbuildingsct.com/tag/abolitionism/.
Farmington Freedom Trail, Farmington, CT. Accessed October 15th 2020. https://www.farmington-ct.org/home/showdocument?id=3687.