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Mission Statement

The Amistad is Howard University’s literary arts journal. Our goal is to elevate the creative voices of the Black diaspora through poetry, fiction, interviews, and art. We strive to publish the best up-and-coming voices in conjunction with local and established writers to create a journal that speaks directly to the black community. Under the banner of Howard - a premier Historically Black College and University - we are continuing the legacy of the campus’ great voices (Toni Morrison, Zora Neale Hurston, Amiri Baraka,  Lucille Clifton, and Paul Laurence Dunbar) by publishing unique works that push the boundaries of craft and theme. We are open to all writers and artists that speaks directly to our continuing mission. 




The Amistad is Howard University’s longest running undergraduate journal, publishing work that is unprecedentedly distinct and artful. Howard University’s Literary Arts Journal adopted the name The Amistad in homage to the slaves taken from Sierra Leone to a Spanish country aboard the La Amistad in 1839. The slaves rebelled and sued for their freedom. The Amistad is published as a collective body of work to honor the collective effort of the slaves’ fight for liberation.


The journal, originally called Amistad, was created in the mid-1990s by a group of Howard students. It was conceived as way to publish voices on campus. Since the staff graduated, and consistently changed, the longevity of the journal faltered over the years.  In 2010, Amistad published its final issue.


In the fall of 2018, a faculty member decided to resurrect the journal. After recruiting a handful of wonderful student volunteers, the work of rebuilding begun. The new staff decided to rebrand the journal The Amistad to mark this forward transition. That following spring semester, the staff published the first journal under the new banner.


Today, the staff is still made of several Howard undergraduates. They now earn academic credit for working on The Amistad. The course helps students understand the process of publishing poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and other artistic works. The class gains insights on producing printed works as both writers and editors by workshopping their own pieces and creating the literary arts journal.


The Amistad will continue to grow by showcasing budding literary talent in addition to established writes. The staff looks forward to continuing on the journals past and forging its future.

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