By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Independence Seaport Museum welcomes a special guest along the Delaware River, just in time for Memorial Day weekend.

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The Schooner Amistad arrived Thursday afternoon. The 129-foot Baltimore Clipper was built in 2000 as a replica of the historic Spanish cargo ship La Amistad. The ship became famous in 1839, when 54 slaves being transported from Cuba rebelled and captured the ship, sparking a historic challenge to the very meaning of freedom.

“They were brought ashore, charged with murder and for taking the ship,” says Greg Bailey, who is the chief skipper for Amistad. “The United States Supreme Court eventually ruled that they were free men and paid for the trip back to Africa so they could continue living their lives.”

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Bailey says Amistad has traveled tens of thousands of miles in the past 12 years, visiting Sierra Lione, Nova Scotia, Cuba and making multiple stops in the US. He says the purpose is to share the history of the ship, as well as to tell a story of the abolition of the Atlantic slave trade.

“We promote tolerance and awareness of racial issues,” says Bailey.

The ship is part of the Seaport Museum’s exhibit “Tides of Freedom,” which explores the fight for freedom along the Delware River from slavery through to civil rights and beyond. Vistors can see the exhibit and take a tour the deck of the ship, which will be in Philadelphia through May 29th. For more info, go to

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