Reader Some Guy In Massachusetts sent Deval Patrick’s inaugural address to me, saying he was “bowled over” by this part of it.So am I:
Our founders came on the Mayflower, the Arabella, and the early clipper ships. But there were other boats, too. There was the Amistad and her cargo of kidnapped Africans, who commandeered the ship to sail home to Africa, but who were seized in Long Island Sound and imprisoned in New Haven.
On this very day 165 years ago, a young man named Kinna, who had been part of that rebellion, sent a letter from prison to our own John Quincy Adams, who had retired from public life at home in Massachusetts.
Kinna pleaded with Adams to help the 36 captives from his ship to earn their freedom. Adams took the case all the way to the United States Supreme Court and won.
As a gesture of thanks and respect, the Africans gave Adams a Bible, called the Mendi Bible, after their tribal homeland.
I took the oath this morning with my hand resting on that same Bible — and with my resolve strengthened by that same legacy. I am descended from people once forbidden their most basic and fundamental freedoms, a people desperate for a reason to hope and willing to fight for it. And so are you. So are you. Because the Amistad was not just a Black man’s journey; it was an American journey. This Commonwealth — and the Nation modeled on it — is at its best when we show we understand a faith in what’s possible, and the willingness to work for it.
The whole thing kicks ass. Go read, and feel good about your country and the Democrats who lead it.