CUBE -- Articles for Nov/Dec 1997


Supreme Court of the United States, January, 1841 Term. "The United States, appellants, v. the Libellants and claimants of the schooner Amistad, her tackle, apparel, and furniture, together with her cargo, and the Africans mentioned and described in the several libels and claims, appellees.
On September 19, 1839, the negroes [of the Amistad] filed an answer to the libel of Lieutenant Gedney and others, claiming salvage, and to the claim of Ruiz and Montez, claiming them as slaves, as also to the intervention of the United States, on the application of the minister of Spain; in which they say, that they are natives of Africa, and were born free, and ever since have been and still of right are and ought to be free and not slaves; that they were never domiciled in the island of Cuba, or in the dominions of the Queen of Spain, or subject to the laws thereof. That on or about the 15th day of April, 1839, they were, in the land of their nativity, kidnapped, and forcibly, and wrongfully, by certain persons to them unknown, who were there unlawfully and piratically engaged in the slave trade between the coast of Africa and the island of Cuba, contrary to the will of these respondents, unlawfully, and under circumstances of great cruelty, transported to the island of Cuba for the unlawful purpose of being sold as slaves, and were there illegally landed for that purpose. That Jose Ruiz, one of the libellants, well knowing all the premises, and confederating with the persons by whom the respondents were unlawfully taken and holden as slaves, and intending to deprive the respondents severally of their liberty, made a pretended purchase of the respondents, except the said Carria, Teme, Kene, and Mahgra; and that Pedro Montez all the premises, and confederating with the said persons for the purpose aforesaid, made a pretended purchase of the said Carria, Teme, Kene, and Mahgra; that the pretended purchases were made from persons who had no right whatever to the respondents or any of them, and that the same were null and void, and conferred no right or title on Ruiz or Montez, or right of control over the respondents or either of them. That on or about the 28th day of June, 1839, Ruiz and Montez, confederating with each other, and with one Ramon Ferrer, now deceased, captain of the schooner Amistad, and others of the crew thereof, caused respondents severally, without law or right, under color of certain false and fraudulent papers by them procured and fraudulently used for that purpose, to be placed by force on board the schooner to be transported with said Ruiz and Montez to some place unknown to the respondents, and there enslaved for life. That the respondents, being treated on board said vessel by said Ruiz and Montez and their confederates with great cruelty and oppression, and being of right free as aforesaid, were incited by the love of liberty natural to all men, and by the desire of returning to their families and kindred, to take possession of said vessel while navigating the high seas, as they had a right to do, with the intent to return therein to their native country, or to seek an asylum in some free state, where slavery did not exist, in order that they might enjoy their liberty under the protection of its government; that the schooner, about the 26th of August, 1839, arrived in the possession of the respondents, at Culloden Point near Montauk, and was there anchored near the shore of Long Island, within hailing distance thereof, and within the waters and territory of the state of New York; that the respondents, Cinque, Carlee, Dammah, Baah, Monat, Nahguis, Quato, Con, Fajanah, Berrie, Gabbo, Fouleaa, Kimbo, Faquannah, Cononia, otherwise called Ndzarbla, Yaboi, Burnah 1st, Shuma, Fawne, Peale, Ba, and Sheele, while said schooner lay at anchor as aforesaid, went on shore within the state of New York to procure provisions and other necessaries, and while there, in a state where slavery is unlawful and does not exist, under the protection of the government and laws of said state by which they were all free, whether on board of said schooner, or on shore, the respondents were severally seized, as well those who were on shore as aforesaid, as those who were on board of and in possession of said schooner, by Lieutenant Gedney, his officers, and crew of the United States brig Washington, without any lawful warrant or authority whatever, at the instance of Ruiz and Montez, with the intent to keep and secure them as slaves to Ruiz and Montez, respectively, and to obtain an award of salvage therefore, from this honorable Court, as for a meritorious act. That for that purpose, the respondents were, by Lieutenant Gedney, his officers and crew, brought to the port of New London; and while there, and afterwards, under the subsequent proceedings in this honorable Court taken into the custody of the marshal of said district of Connecticut, and confined and held in the jails in the cities of New Haven and Hartford, respectively, as aforesaid. Wherefore, the respondents pray that they may be set free, as they of right are and ought to be, and that they be released from the custody of the marshal, under the process of this honorable Court, under which, or under color of which they are holden as aforesaid.

More about the Amistad at


During the 1997-98 season CUBE will continue its collaboration with Mostly Music in presenting "The Rise of the American Identity -- Roots and Flowering," a series of concerts, workshops and symposia, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts as a Millennium Program, covering 100 years of American music and exploring our unique cultural history. On January 17 and 18 at 2:00 pm at The University of Chicago, internationally-recognized composer and professor of music composition John Eaton and CUBE will explore in a workshop and concert the transplanted European composers -- Varèse, Stravinsky, Schoenberg and Kurt Weill, and American composers Sessions, Gershwin, Eaton and Morehead. A symposium, "All Arts Considered," will be led by Eaton, with panellists Nicholas Rudall, founding director of the Court Theater, author Richard Stern, photographer Joel Snyder, musicologist Berthold Hoeckner, and dancer/choreographer Anna Pashevska. The weekend will conclude with a pre-concert lecture and performance of Eaton's song cycle Lettere and other works. The second sequence, March 12 and 13 at Northeastern Illinois University, will feature a concert and workshop with CUBE, Chicago Symphony Orchestra clarinetist John Bruce Yeh, and Howard Sandroff performing works for acoustic instruments and electronic media.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Mostly Music, which presented its first concerts, a set of lecture-demonstrations by first-chair Chicago Symphony Orchestra members, in Hyde Park in 1973 to capacity audiences in a landmark setting, a Kenwood Sensibar mansion. Incorporated in 1974, Mostly Music has continued fulfilling its mission to reach out to new and under-served, as well as established, audiences, to present emerging local artists and ensembles, to move ensemble performance out of traditional halls and into the community and to give quality concerts in intimate settings appropriate for chamber music. After the successful Hyde Park series, Mostly Music began lunchtime concerts held at First National Bank -- which lasted a decade -- for seniors, workers and children. On its 10th anniversary, the Chamber Music in the Home series expanded its scope beyond Hyde Park to begin the affiliation with Northeastern Illinois University as well as additional series in Chicago's Near North and North Shore suburbs. In 1987, Mostly Music, together with the Northeastern Illinois University Department of Music and Dance Program, launched its groundbreaking community series which includes concerts, symposia and masterclasses.

Mostly Music has also been a pioneer in programming. In 1994, Mostly Music began giving its Hyde Park concerts at the Smart Museum of Art, often relating music and art. A collaboration in 1995 with the Spertus Museum presented music on Jewish themes. In 1996 Mostly Music collaborated with CUBE for a series of events on Mark Rothko and Abstract Expressionism. This season the two organizations will again collaborate to combine cultural history, the visual arts and contemporary music. In another first, Mostly Music will give live concerts to senior citizens in 80 retirement facilities, underwritten by the Rothschild Foundation.

The list of artists who got their start with Mostly Music is a who's who of internationally-renowned artists and rising young stars. The organization has offered Lorraine Pritzker Residencies throughout the years to such accomplished performers as the International String Quartet who played with their mentor Menahem Pressler. Mostly Music gave the esteemed Vermeer Quartet their first series, which lasted for five years. The Chicago Chamber Musicians also gave their first concerts with Mostly Music. In addition, Mostly Music has presented pianist Richard Goode, clarinetist Larry Combs, and young virtuosos Rachel Barton, violin, Wendy Warner, cello, and Jennifer Koh, violin. Mostly Music has supported vocalists as well, including many singers from the Lyric Opera Center for American Artists.

Joyce Turner Hilkevitch, executive director, is a founder of Mostly Music, a founding Executive Director of Grant Park Concerts Society and a former member of the Hyde Park Art Center Board. She has worked as as journalist and in public relations, as well as serving fifteen years in the field of social work and mental health.