“It is an immense duty to ensure that Clotilda is protected, and the Alabama Historical Commission takes its role as the legal guardian of Clotilda very seriously,” said Lisa D. Jones, executive director of the commission, in a press release. declaration. “The Clotilda is a vital historical artifact and a stark reminder of what happened during the transatlantic slave trade.”
The Clotilda’s last voyage was undertaken illegally because Congress had banned the importation of slaves more than half a century earlier.
After the schooner arrived in Mobile and the captives were transferred to a riverboat in July 1860, the captain of the Clotilda, William Foster, burned and scuttled the ship to hide evidence of its illicit trade, Dr Delgado said. . Since then, the ship has remained in the same spot in the Mobile River, the researchers said.
After the Civil War, some of the people who had been transported to the Clotilde asked their former slave owner, Timothy Meaher, who had organized and financed the trip, to give them land, said Dr Diouf, author of “Dreams”. of Africa in Alabama: The slave ship Clotilda and the story of the last Africans brought to America. “
When Mr Meaher refused, the former slave laborers bought land from him and others, Dr Diouf said, and formed Africatown, where African languages have been spoken for decades.
“It is, of course, a story of resistance,” she said. “They, from day one, acted as a community and as a family and they continued to be very active after becoming free. “
Joycelyn Davis, who lives in Africatown and is a descendant of Charlie Lewis and Maggie Lewis, who were enslaved on the Clotilda, said she hoped archaeologists could find barrels and other artifacts as well as l DNA that could be linked to descendants.