In Amistad Stephen Spielberg and scriptwriter Steve Zaillan are following up their Schindler’s List with a film portraying a slave revolt aboard the ship Amistad in 1839. When the ship ends up in New York harbor, President Van Buren signs an executive order to send them on to Cuba, the original destination, an order challenged successfully by John Quincy Adams, whereupon they sail back to what is now called Sierra Leone. Deja vu: It’s the Spielberg of The Color Purple, again, making films to enlighten his two adopted African American children and the rest of us. MH