The Last American Slave Ship
Just north of downtown Mobile, in the muddy banks of the Mobile River, lies the wreckage of the schooner Clotilda, the last known slave ship to enter the United States.
Under the cover of night in the summer of 1860, a ship carrying 110 African captives slipped into Mobile Bay. The Clotilda, the last known American slave ship, made its illegal voyage 52 years after the international slave trade was outlawed. In the years to come, the displaced Africans survived enslavement and established a community as free Americans. They maintained their African identities, creating the tight-knit, independent community known as Africatown (just north of downtown Mobile).
In 2019, it was announced that the Clotilda had been discovered at the bottom of the Mobile River: a tangible link to the names and stories passed down through generations of descendants. The ship’s remains are a testament to the horrors of the transatlantic slave trade. The story of the people and the community of Africatown, however, is one of survival and resilience.
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