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Olupina posljednjeg američkog robovskog broda konačno je identificirana u Alabami

Olupina posljednjeg američkog robovskog broda konačno je identificirana u Alabami

Nakon dugog pretraživanja, istraživači su konačno pronašli posljednji američki robski brod Clotilda, na dnu reke Mobile u Alabami. Objava dolazi godinu dana nakon objavljivanja izgubljenog intervjua Zore Neale Hurston s preživjelom s tog broda, i samo mjesec dana nakon što je naučnik otkrio posljednji Clotilda preživjela je živjela do 1937. Ima poseban značaj za stanovnike Africatowna u Alabami, od kojih mnogi potječu od Afrikanaca ilegalno trgovanih na Clotilda 1860.

"To je divno otkriće", kaže Sylviane A. Diouf, gostujuća naučnica u Centru za proučavanje ropstva i pravde Univerziteta Brown i autorica Snovi o Africi u Alabami: robski brod Clotilda i priča o posljednjim Afrikancima dovedenim u Ameriku. "Ovo je jedini dosad pronađen koji je došao direktno iz Afrike u Ameriku s ljudima na brodu." (Nedavno otkriveno São José bio na putu za Brazil, ali se srušio u Južnoj Africi u blizini Cape Towna.)

Otkriće je značajno i zbog toga što je Clotilda već je najbolje dokumentirana priča o brodovima robova u Americi. "Da je to bio samo brod bez priče, onda je to zanimljivo", kaže Diouf. “Ali imamo cijelu priču. Dakle, ovo je prvi put da imamo cijelu priču o tome šta se dogodilo ljudima koji su bili na brodu, a imamo i brod. ”

Istraživačka inicijativa koja je otkrila Clotilda bio je djelomično motiviran otkrićem drugog broda u siječnju 2018. za koji se mislilo da je mogao biti Clotilda. Nakon toga je Povijesna komisija Alabame financirala daljnje napore da se pronađe Clotilda, koju je trgovac robljem spalio, a zatim potonuo na dno rijeke kako bi sakrio dokaze o svom ilegalnom putovanju.

Bageri su na kraju pročešljali dio pokretne rijeke koji nikada prije nije bio iskopan. Među mnogim potopljenim brodovima tamo su pronašli jedan za koji povjesničari mogu s pouzdanjem reći da odgovara opisu broda Clotilda.

Više od 100 afričke djece, tinejdžera i mladih odraslih na Clotilda stigao u Alabamu samo godinu dana prije građanskog rata. Kad su SAD službeno ukinule ropstvo 1865. godine, ti mladi ljudi nisu imali načina da putuju kući, pa su neki stvorili zajednicu pod nazivom "Afrički grad" u Alabami. Grad je pomogao očuvanju priča ovih ljudi, od kojih su neki prenosili sjećanja na zarobljavanje i porobljavanje u 20. stoljeću.

Za razliku od većine preživjelih brodova robova u povijesti koji su ostali uglavnom bez dokumenata, imamo slike i intervjue ljudi koji su došli na Clotilda. Imamo čak i filmske snimke posljednje poznate preživjele, žene rođene s imenom “Redoshi” koja se zvala “Sally Smith”. Kad je Zora Neale Hurston 1920 -ih i 30 -ih godina intervjuirala Cudja Lewisa, člana osnivača Afričkog grada, još uvijek se mogao sjetiti dezorijentirajuće traume zatočeništva i porobljavanja sa 19 godina.

"Znamo zašto nas iz naše zemlje vode na posao", rekao je Lewis, izvorno nazvan "Kossula". “Svi nas čudno gledaju. Želimo razgovarati s narodom obojenim vimenom, ali ne znaju šta govorimo. ”

Nije jasno šta će se dogoditi sa ClotildaOstaci, ali stanovnici afričkog grada nadaju se da će to istaknuti na način koji privlači turizam i poslovanje. Africatown je dom zajednice sa niskim prihodima koja je preživjela uragan Katrina i opasne razine industrijskog zagađenja, uključujući i BP Deepwater Horizon izlijevanje nafte. Jedna je mogućnost stvoriti vodeni spomenik koji ljudi mogu posjetiti, poput onog koji obilježava U.S.S. Arizona Pearl Harbor.

"Kao simbol, mislim da je to ključno", kaže Diouf o otkriću. “I mislim da za današnji Afrički grad, koji je zaista zajednica koja se jako bori, zaista stavlja Afrički grad na mapu. I nadam se da će iz toga proizaći nešto dobro. ”


Posljednji poznati američki robovski brod otkriven u rijeci Alabama

Posljednji istraživači brodova robova za koje vjeruju da su iz Sjedinjenih Država stigli iz Afrike otkriveni su nakon istrage koja je trajala više od godinu dana, kaže povijesna komisija Alabame. Ostaci broda, tzv Clotilda, pronađeni su na dnu rijeke Mobile u Alabami. Radila je ilegalno i potopila je 1860. godine kako bi sakrila dokaze godinu dana prije izbijanja građanskog rata.

“Dugo su čekali na ovo ", rekao je za NPR predsjednik Historijske komisije Alabame Walter Givhan. “Bili su veseli. ” Istraživači su dugo tražili brod koji je navodno potopljen u vodama oko Mobilea. Od februara do jula 1860 Clotilda prenio je 110 ljudi iz današnjeg Benina na obalu Mobilea, uprkos američkom zakonu koji zabranjuje uvoz robova.

Izloženo drvo broda Clotislda. Fotografija ljubaznošću službe Nacionalnog parka

The Clotilda bila “drvena posuda …koja je 1860. prevezla 110 Afrikanaca u Sjedinjene Države, više od pola stoljeća nakon što je uvoz robova proglašen ilegalnim,#izvještava The New York Times. “ Otkriće, rekli su istoričari, oživljava priču o neizrecivoj okrutnosti, ali i priču o narodu koji je na neki način preživio ovo poniženje i mnogim drugim poput njega. ”

Posljednje putovanje Clotildom do Mobile Baya, Alabama, "predstavljalo je jedno od najmračnijih doba moderne povijesti", rekla je Lisa Demetropoulos Jones, izvršna direktorica komisije. "Ovo novo otkriće stavlja u fokus tragediju ropstva svjedočeći trijumfu i otpornosti ljudskog duha u prevladavanju užasnog zločina koji je doveo do osnivanja Afričkog grada", nastavio je Jones.

Arheolog SEAC -a Clete Rooney bilježi značajke olupine Clotilde pomoću GPS -a. Fotografija ljubaznošću službe Nacionalnog parka

Clotildu je otkrila arheološka kompanija Search Inc, koju je povjesnička komisija Alabame angažovala da pomogne u tome, kaže National Geographic Society, koje je dalo doprinos ovim naporima. Također je sudjelovala Nacionalna služba parka i Projekt olupina robova, multinacionalna grupa koja se bavi trgovinom robljem.

“Afroamerička istorija također pronalazi snažan novi izraz u Nacionalnom muzeju afroameričke istorije i kulture, koji je otvoren u Washingtonu 2016. godine,##rekao je The New York Times.

Karte olupine napravljene su pomoću GPS -a i totalne stanice. Direktor SEAC -a David Morgan nalazi se na otkrivenom drvetu olupine. Fotografija ljubaznošću službe Nacionalnog parka

Nakon građanskog rata, neki preživjeli Clotilda formirali su mobilnu zajednicu koja je postala poznata kao Afrikatoun. Objava identiteta broda dolazi godinu dana nakon još jedne tvrdnje da je istorijsko plovilo otkriveno, što se pokazalo prerano. Istraživači su rekli da je olupina identifikovana 23. maja 2019. pokazala znake opekotina, što potkrijepljuje dokaze u arhivskim zapisima.

Dijagram broda robova 1854

“Oprezni smo pri postavljanju imena na olupinama brodova koji više ne nose ime ili nešto poput zvona s brodom i imenom#8217, rekao je vođa tima James Delgado u izjavi,#ali fizički i forenzički dokazi snažno sugerira da je to tako Clotilda.”

Model broda robova. Nacionalni muzej američke istorije. Fotografija Kenneth Lu CC by 2.0

Pristup olupini predstavljao je mnoge rizike i opasnosti, rekao je Delgado. “Tamo je bila mrkla voda i voda koja se brzo kretala, razbijeno drvo i posjete vodenih mokasina i aligatora, "#8221 rekao je za NPR.

U afričkom gradu, bivši robovi očuvali su svoj jezik i narodne puteve. Generacijama kasnije, mnogi stanovnici tog područja sjeverno od Mobilea ponosni su na to što su potomci izvornog stanovništva Afričkog grada. Zvaničnici Alabame žele da olupina povezana sa Afričkim gradom najbolje zapamti šta se dogodilo.

„Ovo je ogromno. Ovo bi mogla biti jedna od najboljih turističkih atrakcija u svijetu nakon što se sve razvije u toj zajednici ”, rekla je za Al.com državna senatorka Vivian Davis Figures.

Figures, koji je najavio otkriće na spratu državnog Senata, rekao je da je to trenutak koji je čekala od svog prvog izleta brodom u deltu sa istraživačima u potrazi za brodom. “Znala sam da je vani, ” rekla je. “ Kao da ste mogli osjetiti duše tih ljudi. ”


Olupina obale Zaljeva mogla bi biti ɼlotilda, ' posljednji američki robski brod

MOBILE, Ala. - Istraživači kažu da bi ostaci drvenog broda pronađenog uronjenog u blato u delti rijeke u jugozapadnoj Alabami mogli biti Clotilda, posljednje plovilo koje je dovelo robove u Sjedinjene Države prije gotovo 160 godina.

Olupina, koja je normalno prekrivena vodom u donjoj delti Mobile-Tensaw, nedavno je bila izložena neobično osekama, a locirao ju je reporter Al.com koji pokriva okoliš i očuvanje na obali, Ben Raines.

Stručnjaci su za Al.com rekli da bi ostaci broda mogli biti Clotilda, koja je spaljena nakon isporuke zarobljenika iz današnje zapadnoafričke države Benin u Mobile 1860. godine, na osnovu mjesta na kojem ga je Raines pronašao i načina na koji je izgrađen.

"Definitivno možete reći možda, a možda čak i malo jače, jer je lokacija ispravna, čini se da je konstrukcija ispravna, iz odgovarajućeg vremenskog perioda čini se da je izgorjela. Pa bih rekao vrlo uvjerljivo, sigurno ", rekao je Greg Cook, arheolog sa Sveučilišta Zapadne Floride koji je pregledao olupinu.

John Bratten, koji radi s Cookom na istraživanju brodoloma, rekao je da "nema ničega što bi reklo da ovo nije Clotilda, i nekoliko stvari koje bi mogle biti".

Povezano

Vijesti 'Kanci iz dubine ' istražuje misteriju potopljenog robovskog broda

Jedan ključni element je lokacija olupine: To je u suštini mjesto gdje je kapetan Clotilde, William Foster, napisao da je spalio i potopio brod 1860. godine, godinu prije početka građanskog rata. Olupina pokazuje dokaze o oštećenjima od požara, a plovilo je izgrađeno tehnikama sredinom 1800-ih, kada je izgrađena Clotilda.

Predsjednik Thomas Jefferson potpisao je zakon 1807. godine kojim se zabranjuje uvoz robova, ali ropstvo je još desetljećima ostalo temelj južne ekonomije. Mobile je bila glavna luka na obali Meksičkog zaliva sa riječnim pristupom uzvodno plantažama za uzgoj pamuka.

Clotilda, dvojamačna škuna, krenula je u Afriku na opkladu kapetana parobrodnog broda u Alabami i vlasnika plantaže koji je želio pokazati da može uvući robove u zemlju uprkos saveznim trupama koje su stacionirane na utvrdama koje su čuvale ušće Mobile Baya.

Brod je isporučio 110 zarobljenika Mobileu 1860. godine u posljednjem poznatom slučaju slijetanja broda robova u Sjedinjene Države. Kapetan je uzeo brod uz deltu i spalio ga, ljudi su postali robovi, a oni i njihovi potomci živjeli su nakon Građanskog rata u području blizu Mobilea poznatom kao Africatown.

Većina olupine leži u blatu, a Cook je rekao da su potrebne dodatne studije, uključujući iskopavanja, kako bi se potvrdilo da je brod Clotilda. Cook je rekao da je prvi korak prikupljanje podataka od Historijske komisije Alabame, drugih državnih dužnosnika i Inženjerskog zbora američke vojske. Na kraju, cilj bi bio identificirati olupinu i možda izložiti bilo kakve artefakte.

"Ako se pokaže kao posljednji rob, bit će to jako moćno mjesto iz mnogo razloga. Sama struktura plovila nije toliko važna kao njegova povijest, a utjecaj koji će imati na mnoge, mnoge ljudi ", rekao je.


GeoGarage blog

Škuna Clotilda krijumčarila je afričke zarobljenike u SAD
1860., više od 50 godina nakon što je uvoz robova bio zabranjen.

Škuna Clotilda, posljednji poznati brod koji je doveo porobljene Afrikance na obale Amerike, otkriven je u udaljenom rukavcu mobilne rijeke Alabame nakon intenzivne potrage tokom cijele godine od strane morskih arheologa.

"Potomci preživjelih Clotilda generacijama su sanjali o ovom otkriću", kaže Lisa Demetropoulos Jones, izvršna direktorica Historijske komisije Alabame (AHC) i državna službenica za očuvanje historije.
"Oduševljeni smo što možemo objaviti da se njihov san konačno ostvario."

Zarobljenici koji su stigli na Clotildu posljednji su od procijenjenih 389.000 Afrikanaca isporučenih u ropstvo u kontinentalnoj Americi od ranih 1600 -ih do 1860. godine.
Hiljade plovila bilo je uključeno u transatlantsku trgovinu, ali je vrlo rijetko pronađeno vrlo malo olupina robova.
(Pogledajte kako su arheolozi sastavili tragove kako bi identifikovali davno izgubljeni robski brod.)

"Otkriće Clotilde baca novo svjetlo na izgubljeno poglavlje američke povijesti", kaže Fredrik Hiebert, rezidentni arheolog u Nacionalnom geografskom društvu, koje je podržalo potragu.
"Ovo otkriće je također kritičan dio priče o afričkom gradu, koji su izgradili otporni potomci posljednjeg američkog broda robova."

Rijetki računi iz prve ruke koje su ostavili robovlasnici i njihove žrtve nude jedinstven prozor u atlantsku trgovinu robljem, kaže Sylviane Diouf, poznata historičarka afričke dijaspore.

"To je najbolje dokumentirana priča o putovanju robovima na zapadnoj hemisferi", kaže Diouf, čija knjiga iz 2007., "Dreams of Africa in Alabama", prikazuje sagu o Clotildi.
"Zarobljenici su skicirani, intervjuirani, čak i snimljeni", kaže ona, misleći na neke koji su živjeli u 20. stoljeću.
"Osoba koja je organizirala putovanje pričala je o tome. Kapetan broda je o tome pisao. Dakle, priču imamo iz nekoliko perspektiva. Nigdje nisam vidio ništa slično."

Godine 1927. Cudjo Lewis, tada jedan od posljednjih živih preživjelih Clotilde, podijelio je svoju životnu priču sa antropologinjom Zorom Neale Hurston.
Njena knjiga Barracoon, konačno objavljena 2018. godine, uključuje Lewisovo pripovijedanje o mučnom putovanju na Clotildi.

Priča o Clotildi započela je kada je Timothy Meaher, bogati posjednik mobilne telefonije i brodograditelj, navodno dao ulog nekolicini sjevernjačkih biznismena u hiljadu dolara da bi mogao prokrijumčariti teret Afrikanaca u Mobile Bay pod nosom saveznih zvaničnika.

Uvoz robova u Sjedinjene Države bio je nezakonit od 1808. godine, a vlasnici južnih plantaža vidjeli su da je cijena domaće trgovine robljem skočila.
Mnogi, uključujući Meaher, zalagali su se za ponovno otvaranje trgovine.

1860. Clotilda je krijumčarila zapadnoafričke zarobljenike u SAD
Rute i datumi preuzeti su s računa kapetana broda, Williama Fostera.

Meaher je unajmio elegantnu, brzu škunu po imenu Clotilda i angažirao njenog graditelja, kapetana Williama Fostera, da je otplovi do zloglasne robske luke Ouidah u današnjem Beninu kako bi kupio zarobljenike.
Foster je napustio Zapadnu Afriku sa 110 mladića, djevojaka i djece natrpanih u skladištu za škune.
Navodno je jedna djevojka umrla tokom brutalnog šestonedjeljnog putovanja.
Ljudski teret, kupljen za 9.000 dolara u zlatu, vrijedio je 1860. godine u Alabami više od 20 puta.

Nakon što je zarobljenike premjestio na riječni čamac u vlasništvu brata Meahera, Foster je spalio ropca do vodene linije kako bi sakrio njihov zločin.
Klotilda je decenijama čuvala svoje tajne, čak iako su neki poricatelji tvrdili da se sramotna epizoda nikada nije dogodila.

Nakon završetka građanskog rata i ukidanja ropstva, Afrikanci su čeznuli za povratkom u svoje domove u zapadnoj Africi.
Kako nisu imali sredstava, uspjeli su kupiti male parcele zemlje sjeverno od Mobilea, gdje su formirali vlastitu usko povezanu zajednicu koja je postala poznata kao Africatown.
Tamo su sebi stvorili nove živote, ali nikada nisu izgubili afrički identitet.
Mnogi od njihovih potomaka i danas tamo žive i odrasli su uz priče o čuvenom brodu koji je doveo njihove pretke u Alabamu.
"Ako pronađu dokaze o tom brodu, bit će veliki", predvidjela je potomak Lorna Woods ranije ove godine.
"Sve što nam je mama rekla bit će potvrđeno. To će nam učiniti cijeli svijet dobrim."

S tim se slaže i Mary Elliott, kustosica u Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
"Danas postoji mnogo primjera#8212 nemira na Tulsi 1921., ove priče, čak i holokausta"#8212 gdje neki ljudi kažu da se to nikada nije dogodilo.
Zbog arheologije, arhivskog istraživanja, nauke u kombinaciji sa kolektivnim sjećanjima zajednice, to se ne može pobiti.
Sada su na opipljiv način povezani sa svojim precima, znajući da je ova priča istinita. "(Njihovi preci su preživjeli ropstvo. Mogu li njihovi potomci spasiti grad koji su sagradili?)


Lov na izgubljenu istoriju

Nekoliko je pokušaja lociranja posmrtnih ostataka Clotilde#8217 napravljeno tijekom godina, ali delta Mobile-Tensaw puna je oranica, volovskih lukova i zaljeva, kao i mnoštva olupina iz više od tri stoljeća pomorskih aktivnosti.
Zatim je u siječnju 2018. godine lokalni novinar Ben Raines izvijestio da je otkrio ostatke velikog drvenog broda tokom abnormalno oseke.
AHC, koji posjeduje sve napuštene brodove u državnim vodama Alabame, pozvao je arheološku firmu Search, Inc., da istraži trup.

Pokazalo se da je u pitanju drugi brod, ali lažna uzbuna usmjerila je nacionalnu pažnju na davno izgubljenog ropstva.
Incident je također potaknuo AHC da financira daljnja istraživanja u partnerstvu s National Geographic Society i Search, Inc.

Istraživači su pročešljali stotine izvornih izvora iz tog perioda i analizirali zapise o više od 2.000 brodova koji su djelovali u Meksičkom zaljevu kasnih 1850 -ih.
Otkrili su da je Clotilda bila jedna od samo pet osiguranih škuna koje su tada bile osigurane.
Registracijski dokumenti dali su detaljne opise škune, uključujući njenu konstrukciju i dimenzije.

"Clotilda je bila netipično plovilo izrađeno po mjeri", kaže pomorski arheolog James Delgado iz kompanije Search, Inc.
"Postojala je samo jedna škuna izgrađena u Zaljevu duga 86 stopa sa gredom od 23 stope i držačem od 6 stopa, 11 inča, a to je bila Clotilda."


U zapisima se također navodi da je škuna izgrađena od dasaka od južnog žutog bora preko okvira od bijelog hrasta i da je opremljena srednjom daskom dugom 13 stopa koja se mogla podizati ili spuštati prema potrebi za pristup plitkim lukama.

Na temelju istraživanja mogućih lokacija, arheologinja države Delgado i Alabama Stacye Hathorn usredotočila se na dio rijeke Mobile koji nikada nije iskopan.
Raspoređujući ronioce i niz uređaja i#8212a magnetometar za otkrivanje metalnih predmeta, sonar za bočno skeniranje za lociranje građevina na i iznad riječnog dna i profilistator ispod dna za otkrivanje objekata zakopanih ispod muljevitog korita rijeke —otkrili su pravo groblje potopljenih brodova.

Prije državnog istraživanja, Raines je nastavio vlastitu potragu za olupinom, pozvavši istraživače sa Univerziteta u južnom Mississippiju (USM) da mapiraju konture korita rijeke i otkriju sve potopljene objekte.
Istraživanje USM-a otkrilo je prisutnost drvene olupine s nekim obilježjima plovila iz 19. stoljeća.
"Dimenzije broda još nisu određene,"#8221 Raines je izvijestio u junu 2018.
“Takođe ostaje nejasno koja je vrsta plovila pronađena.
Za odgovore na ta pitanja bit će potrebno temeljitije i invazivno ispitivanje, upravo stručnost kompanije Search, Inc. "


Tim Delgadoa#8217s lako je uklonio većinu potencijalnih olupina: pogrešne veličine, metalnog trupa, pogrešne vrste drva.
No plovilo Raines i istraživanje USM -a istaknuli su da se izdvaja od ostalih.
U sljedećih deset mjeseci tim Delgadoa#8217 analizirao je dizajn i dimenzije potonulog plovila, vrstu drveta i metala koji su korišteni u njegovoj izgradnji i dokaze da je izgorio.
"Podudara se sa svim zapisima o Clotildi", rekao je Delgado.

Uzorci drveta izvađeni iz cilja 5 su bijeli hrast i južni žuti bor s obale Zaljeva.
Arheolozi su pronašli i ostatke ukrštene ploče odgovarajuće veličine.

Metalni zatvarači s trupa izrađeni su od ručno kovanog sirovog željeza, iste vrste za koju se zna da se koristila na Clotildi.
I postoje dokazi da je trup izvorno bio obložen bakrom, što je tada bila uobičajena praksa za oceanska trgovačka plovila.

Nijedna natpisna pločica ili drugi ispisani artefakti nisu konačno identifikovali olupinu, kaže Delgado, "ali gledajući različite dokaze, možete doći do tačke izvan razumne sumnje."

Spomenik nacionalnom brodu robova?

Olupina Clotilde sada nosi snove o afričkom gradu, koji je patio od opadanja broja stanovnika, siromaštva i mnoštva uvreda za okoliš od strane teških industrija koje okružuju zajednicu.
Stanovnici se nadaju da će olupina generirati turizam i vratiti poslovanje i zaposlenje na njihove ulice.
Neki su čak predložili da se podigne i prikaže.

Zajednici je nedavno dodijeljeno skoro 3,6 miliona dolara iz pravnog rješenja BP Deepwater Horizon za obnovu centra za posjetitelje koji je 2005. uništio uragan Katrina.
Ali ono što je ostalo od spaljene olupine je u vrlo lošem stanju, kaže Delgado.
Obnova bi koštala mnogo miliona dolara.

No, nacionalni spomenik brodova robova —akin do vodenog groba SAD -a
Arizona u Pearl Harboru može biti opcija.
Tamo su posjetitelji mogli razmišljati o užasima trgovine robljem i podsjetiti se ogromnog doprinosa Afrike u stvaranju Amerike.
Pročitajte o 13 muzeja i spomenika koji se povezuju s važnim trenucima afroameričke povijesti.)

"Još uvijek živimo na tragu ropstva", kaže Paul Gardullo, direktor Centra za proučavanje globalnog ropstva u Nacionalnom muzeju afroameričke historije i kulture i član Projekta olupina robova koji je bio uključen u potragu za Clotilda.
“I dalje se suočavamo s ropstvom.
Stalno se pojavljuje jer se nismo bavili ovom prošlošću.
Ako svoj posao obavimo kako treba, imamo priliku ne samo pomiriti se, već i napraviti stvarnu promjenu. ”


Pronalaženje posljednjeg broda za koji se zna da je doveo porobljene Afrikance u Ameriku i potomke njenih preživjelih

Clotilda je spaljena i potopljena u rijeci Alabama nakon što je 1860. godine dovelo 110 zatvorenih ljudi preko Atlantika. Prije dvije godine pronađeni su njeni ostaci. Anderson Cooper izvještava o otkriću olupine i obližnje zajednice sa potomcima porobljenih na brodu.

  • 2020. 29. nov
  • Dopisnik Anderson Cooper
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Ovaj video zapis dostupan je na Paramount+

Prije dvije godine potonuli brod pronađen je na dnu rijeke Alabama. Ispostavilo se da je to davno izgubljena olupina Clotilde, posljednjeg robovskog broda za koji se zna da je doveo zarobljene Afrikance u Ameriku 1860. Najmanje 12 miliona Afrikanaca isporučeno je u Ameriku, u više od 350 godina trans-Atlantika trgovina robljem, ali kao što ćete večeras čuti, putovanje 110 zarobljenih muškaraca, žena i djece dovedenih u Alabamu na Clotildi jedno je od najbolje dokumentiranih putovanja robova u povijesti. Imena tih porobljenih Afrikanaca i njihovu priču generacijama su prenosili njihovi potomci, od kojih neki još uvijek žive samo nekoliko kilometara od mjesta gdje je brod pronađen u zajednici koja se zove Africatown.

Mutna rijeka Alabama gdje je pronađena Clotilda

160 godina ovaj blatni dio rijeke Mobile prikrivao je zločin. U julu 1860. Clotilda je dovučena ovdje, pod okriljem mraka. Zatvoreno u svom skučenom skladištu tereta, 110 porobljenih Afrikanaca.

Joyceyln Davis: Zamišljala sam sebe na tom brodu samo slušajući valove i vodu, a jednostavno ne znam kamo idete.

Joyceyln Davis, Lorna Gail Woods i Thomas Griffin direktni su potomci ovog Afrikanca, Olualea. Robovan u Alabami, njegov vlasnik promijenio je ime u Charlie Lewis. Pollee Allen, čije je afričko ime bilo Kupollee, bila je predak Jeremyja Ellisa i Darrona Pattersona.

Darron Patterson: Nema odjeće. Jedu tamo gdje su obavili nuždu. Iz teretnog prostora dozvoljeno je samo jedan dan u sedmici dva mjeseca. Koliko ljudi imate, znamo li sada da su mogli preživjeti tako nešto, a da nisu izgubili razum?

Potomci nekih robova na brodu Clotilda

Nema fotografija prabake Pat Frazier, Lottie Dennison, ali Caprinxia Wallace i njena majka, Cassandra, imaju iznenađujući broj slika svog pretka, Kossule, koja ga je vlasnica zvala Cudjo Lewis.

Anderson Cooper: Kakav je osećaj znati kada dolazite? Da poznajete osobu koja je prva došla ovamo?

Caprinxia Wallace: Osnažuje, vrlo. Kao što sam odrastao, mama se pobrinula da mi ispriča sve priče koje joj je njen tata ispričao o Cudju.

Anderson Cooper: Cassandra, bilo ti je važno prenijeti to znanje?

Cassandra Wallace: Vrlo važno, da. Tata nas je sjeo i tjerao nas da ponavljamo Kossulua, Clotildu, Cudjo Lewisa.

Thomas Griffin: To ima historijsku važnost, kao i priču koju treba ispričati.

Priča o Clotildi započela je 1860. godine, kada je Timothy Meaher, bogati biznismen, unajmio kapetana Williama Fostera da ilegalno prokrijumčari brodski tovar zarobljenih Afrikanaca iz Kraljevine Dahomey, u zapadnoj Africi, u Mobile, Alabama. Ropstvo je još uvijek bilo legalno na jugu Sjedinjenih Država, ali je uvoz novih robova u Ameriku bio zabranjen 1808.

U svom dnevniku kapetan Foster je opisao kupovinu zarobljenika koristeći "9.000 dolara u zlatu i robi".

Kao što ova replika pokazuje, porobljeni Afrikanci bili su zaključani, goli u skladištu tereta na Clotildi dva bolesna mjeseca. Kad su stigli u Mobile, predati su Timothyju Meaheru i nekolicini drugih. Kapetan Foster je tvrdio da je potom spalio i potonuo Clotildu, ali gdje je ostala misterija.

Do 2018. godine, kada je lokalni reporter, Ben Raines, pronašao Clotildu u oko 20 metara vode nedaleko od Mobilea. Tražio je sedam meseci, prateći tragove u dnevniku kapetana Fostera.

Tačna lokacija nije objavljena iz straha da bi neko mogao uništiti brod. No prošlog veljače povjesničarska komisija u Alabami dala je pomorskom arheologu Jamesu Delgadu, koji je pomogao provjeriti olupinu, dozvolu da nas odvede tamo.

Anderson Cooper: Dakle, Clotilda je došla ovako?

James Delgado: Ravno ovdje, praktično u pravoj liniji nakon što su ostavili ljude, a zatim na jednoj strani obale, zapalili je i potopili.

Anderson Cooper: Znači, pokušavao je uništiti dokaze o zločinu?

Luk Clotilde nije daleko od površine, ali voda je tako mutna, da se to vidi jedino pomoću sonara.

ČOVJEK: Sonar je uključen. Nulti pritisak. Dobro je baciti.

Anderson Cooper: Dakle, skoro smo završili?

James Delgado: Da, upravo napredujemo.

ČOVJEK: Dakle, to je taj luk?

Anderson Cooper: To je to?

Anderson Cooper: Oh, vidite to tako?

Anderson Cooper: Možete to vidjeti potpuno jasno. Mislim, to je brod?

James Delgado: Da. Da, to je Clotilda.

Ostaci Clotilde viđeni na sonaru.

Na sonaru je pramac jasno definiran, kao i obje strane trupa. Brod je dugačak 86 stopa, ali njegov stražnji dio, krma, zakopan je duboko u blato. Te dvije vodoravne linije vjerojatno su zidovi skladišta tereta gdje su porobljeni Afrikanci bili čvrsto zbijeni, na putovanju iz Zapadne Afrike.

Anderson Cooper: Dakle, koliki je bio prostor gdje su ljudi držani?

James Delgado: Što se tiče mjesta gdje bi ljudi zapravo mogli stati, pet stopa sa otprilike 20 stopa.

Anderson Cooper: Čekaj malo. Bio je visok samo pet stopa? Znači ljudi su jedva stajali u ovom skladištu?

Ronjenje na olupini je teško. Vidljivost pod vodom je nulta. Ne možete ni vidjeti brod, Delgadov tim je to osjetio samo rukama. Zovu ga "arheologija na Brajevom pismu".

Ovo je jedina slika koju bi naša kamera mogla pokupiti - daska od drveta prekrivena nečim što izgleda kao stabljike.

Delgado i državna arheologinja Stacye Hathorn pokazali su nam neke od artefakata koje su pronašli. Ova daska od drva vjerojatno potječe iz trupa broda. A ovaj gvozdeni vijak, sa pričvršćenim drvetom, pokazuje dokaze o oštećenju od požara.

Stacye Hathorn: Ne vidite zrna drveta.

James Delgado: U osnovi čini briket.

Anderson Cooper: Dakle, ovo je jasan dokaz da su pokušali spaliti brod?

James Delgado i Stacye Hathorn razgovaraju s dopisnikom Andersonom Cooperom

Porobljeni Afrikanci skinuti su s broda prije nego što je potonuo, ali Delgado kaže da bi još moglo biti DNK nekih od njih u olupini.

James Delgado: Naći ćete ljudsku kosu. Možete pronaći isječke noktiju. Možda je neko izgubio zub ...

Anderson Cooper: Još uvijek možete pronaći ljudsku kosu u olupini Clotilde?

Država Alabama izdvojila je milion dolara za daljnja iskopavanja kako bi se utvrdilo može li se Clotilda ikada podići iz korita. Brod je možda previše oštećen ili je napor preskup.

Mary Elliott: Mislim da je izuzetno važno da ljudi shvate da je postojao zajednički napor da se sakriju te stvari koje su učinjene.

Mary Elliott

Mary Elliott nadgleda zbirku ropskih artefakata u Smithsonian -ovom Nacionalnom muzeju afroameričke istorije i kulture u Washingtonu, DC

Mary Elliott: Važno je da smo pronašli ostatke ovog broda, jer je to za Afroamerikance njihov dio istinskog križa njihov kamen temeljac da kažu: "Govorili smo vam godinama. I evo dokaza."

Zanimljivo je da mnogi potomci još uvijek žive samo nekoliko milja od mjesta gdje je otkrivena Clotilda. Ovo je Africatown. Osnovalo je oko 1868, tri godine nakon emancipacije, 30 Afrikanaca koji su doveli Clotildu.

Joycelyn Davis je organizirala festivale u čast osnivačima Africatowna. Jedan od njih bio je njen veliki pradjed, Charlie Lewis. Prošlog februara odvela nas je do ulice u kojoj je živio, koja se zove Lewis Quarters.

Dopisnik Anderson Cooper i Joycelyn Davis

Anderson Cooper: Tako da skoro svi na ovoj ulici mogu pratiti svoju lozu sve do Charlieja Lewisa ...

Joyceyln Davis: Da. Ovde su svi u srodstvu.

Lewis i neki drugi dobili su posao u obližnjoj pilani, u vlasništvu Timothyja Meahera, istog čovjeka odgovornog za porobljavanje.

Joyceyln Davis: Mislim, radili su za otprilike dolar dnevno. I tako su uštedjeli novac za kupovinu zemlje.

Cudjo Lewis je također radio u pilani Meaher. Ovaj rijetki film prikazuje ga 1928. godine, tada je imao osamdesetak godina i bio je jedan od posljednjih preživjelih Clotilde.

On je pomogao u osnivanju ove crkve u afričkom gradu. Istu crkvu koju njegovi potomci i danas posjećuju.

Anderson Cooper: Nakon emancipacije, činilo se tako nevjerojatnim da bi grupa oslobođenih robova mogla udružiti svoje resurse i izgraditi zajednicu. Mislim, to je izuzetna stvar.

Mary Elliott: Postoji jedna stvar koju govorimo o pravljenju izlaza bez mogućnosti.

Anderson Cooper: Ne možete se izvući?

Mary Elliott: Kad su ti ljudi prisiljeni ovamo s afričkog kontinenta, nisu došli praznih glava. Došli su praznih ruku. Tako su pronašli način da naprave put. I oslanjali su se jedno na drugo. I bili su otporni.

Africatown is the only surviving community in America founded by Africans and over the decades it prospered. There was a business district. The first Black school in Mobile, and by the 1960s, 12,000 people lived here.

Lorna Gail Woods: They built a city within a city. And that's what we can be proud of.

Cassandra Wallace: We had a gas station. We had a grocery store.

Darron Patterson: Drive in.

Cassandra Wallace: . post office, all that was a booming area of Black-owned business.

But today those Black-owned businesses are gone. An interstate highway was built through the middle of Africatown in the early 1990s, and the small clusters of remaining homes are surrounded by factories and chemical plants. Fewer than 2000 people still live here.

The Smithsonian's Mary Elliott took us to Africatown's cemetery, where some of the Clotilda's survivors and generations of their descendants are buried.

Anderson Cooper: No matter where you go in Africatown, you can hear factories and industry and the highway.

Mary Elliott: There is this constant buzz. It's a buzz you hear all the time, day and night. And it's a constant reminder of the breakup of this community.

The descendants we spoke with hope the discovery of the Clotilda will lead to the revitalization of Africatown and they'd like the descendants of Timothy Meaher, the man who enslaved their ancestors, to get involved.

According to tax records, Meaher's descendants still own an estimated 14% of the land in historic Africatown, their name is on nearby street signs and property markers. Court filings indicate their real estate and timber businesses are worth an estimated $36 million.

But so far the descendants we spoke with say no one from the Meaher family has been willing to meet.

Darron Patterson: I don't think it's something that people want to remember.

Caprinxia Wallace: Because they have to acknowledge that they benefit from it today.

Pat Frazier: That they benefited, that's it. That they benefited. And they don't want to acknowledge that.

Anderson Cooper: People don't want to look back and acknowledge it.

Pat Frazier: They don't want to acknowledge that that's how part of their wealth was derived.

Darron Patterson: Big part--

Pat Frazier: And that, on the backs of those people.

Anderson Cooper: What would you want to say to them? I mean, if-- if they were willing to sit down and have, you know, have a coffee with you?

Jeremy Ellis: We would first need to acknowledge what was done in the past. And then there's an accountability piece, that your family, for this many years, five years, owned my ancestors. And then the third piece would be, how do we partner together with, in Africatown?

Pat Frazier: I don't want to receive anything personally. However, there's a need for a lot of development in that community.

We reached out to four members of the Meaher family, all either declined or didn't respond to our request for an interview.

Mike Foster

One man who did want to meet the descendants is Mike Foster. He's a 73-year-old Air Force veteran from Montana. While researching his geneology last year, Mike Foster discovered he is the distant cousin of William Foster, the captain of the Clotilda.

Anderson Cooper: Had you heard of the last slave ship?

Anderson Cooper: What did you think when you heard it?

Mike Foster: I wasn't happy about it. It was, it was very distressing.

Anderson Cooper: Do you feel some guilt?

Mike Foster: No, I didn't feel any guilt. I didn't do it. But I could apologize for it.

And last February, before the pandemic, that's exactly what he did.

Lorna Gail Woods: Yeah, over 160 years have passed, and we finally--

Mike Foster: Hundred and sixty years.

Joyceyln Davis: This is a powerful moment. This is a powerful moment.

Mike Foster: So I'm here to say I'm sorry.

Lorna Gail Woods: Thank you.

In an effort to attract tourism to Africatown, the state of Alabama plans to build a welcome center here, but the descendants we spoke with hope more can be done to restore and rebuild this historic Black community and honor the African men and women who founded it.

Pat Frazier: So, I always think, my God, such strong people, so capable, achieved so much, and started with so little.

Darron Patterson: We have to do something to make sure that the legacy of those people in that cargo hold never ever is forgotten. Because they are the reason that we're even here.

Produced by Denise Schrier Cetta. Associate producer, Katie Brennan. Broadcast associate, Annabelle Hanflig. Edited by Patrick Lee.

Anderson Cooper, anchor of CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360," has contributed to 60 Minutes since 2006. His exceptional reporting on big news events has earned Cooper a reputation as one of television's pre-eminent newsmen.


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(CNN) — In a remote river delta on Alabama’s Gulf coast, partially hidden under water and mud, may be the answer to a mystery that has baffled scholars for more than 150 years.

If experts’ suspicions are correct, it’s the long-lost wreck of the Clotilda — the last known ship to bring enslaved Africans into the United States.

**This image is for use with this specific article only**
In a remote river delta on Alabama’s Gulf coast, partially hidden under water and mud, may be the answer to a mystery that has baffled scholars for more than 150 years.

Its precise location has eluded archaeologists and historians since the vessel was burned in 1860 by slavers seeking to hide evidence of their illegal trafficking. But after the wreck was recently exposed by unusually low tides, AL.com reporter Ben Raines discovered its remains near Mobile and has taken the first step towards verifying its authenticity.

“We did not see anything on the site that would say it’s not the Clotilda,” said Gregory D. Cook, assistant professor of maritime archaeology at the University of West Florida. Raines brought Cook and several other experts to examine the wreck and all agreed that its remains match historical records of the ship.

“We think it’s a very compelling possibility that the wreck could be the Clotilda, but we cannot positively identify it at this point,” Cook told CNN.

Still, historians are excited at the prospect.

“It’s frankly of world historical importance,” said John Sledge, an architectural historian with the city of Mobile. “It’s something that’s been of great interest, both locally and nationally … going back more than a century.”

A dark journey

The Clotilda had a brief and wretched history.

By the mid-1800s importing slaves into the US had long been illegal, although some smugglers defied the law, especially in the South.

According to historical accounts, the Clotilda made its illicit journey after Timothy Meaher, a local plantation owner, made a bet that he could sneak slaves past federal officials and into the country.

He bought the two-masted schooner and paid a captain, William Foster, to sail it to West Africa and collect 110 slaves from what is now Benin. Foster ferried them back across the Atlantic to Mobile, where he smuggled the ship past authorities in 1860 under cover of darkness.

The captain then navigated the Clotilda up the Spanish River, transferred the slaves to a riverboat and burned the ship, sinking it.

Many of the ship’s slaves, freed five years later at the end of the Civil War, settled a community north of downtown Mobile that became known as Africatown. Some descendants of the original slaves still live in the area.

“Any tangible evidence related to the period of slavery in the United States carries a powerful meaning for many people, so if this was the last ship to transport enslaved Africans to this country, that would be a pretty huge discovery symbolically,” said Cook, the archaeology professor.

Cook said that if the wreck is proven to be the Clotilda, the descendants of its slaves would be consulted on decisions about its future.

“This would have obvious impacts on them, and we would work with them to get a sense of their feelings, what they would like to see occur with the site, and have them involved in the research as much as they would like to be,” he said.

Digging for proof

The wreck is partially buried and not much to look at — a long wooden spine with some planks and iron spikes lying nearby. It’s accessible only by boat and lies alongside a marshy island in the lower Mobile-Tensaw Delta, some 12 miles north of Mobile.

It sat underwater before being exposed by extreme low tides caused by the wintry “bomb cyclone” storm system that hammered the Eastern US this winter.

Preliminary evidence suggests it could be the Clotilda. Cook said its type of hull construction matches ships built in the mid-19th century, and the remains of the hull show signs of being burned. And according to Raines its location in the delta is consistent with the one described in Foster’s journals. (He’s not revealing the wreck’s precise location to preserve its integrity and discourage looters.)

For proof, however, archaeologists would likely need to excavate the wreck and examine the contents of its hold for such items as ceramics, which could help pinpoint the time period, or shackles, which could help confirm its use as a slave ship.

Any digging would require state and possibly federal permits.

“We just won’t know until we investigate,” Cook said.

Sledge, the Mobile historian, hopes confirming the ship’s identity will help bring some closure to descendants of its Africatown neighborhood.

“The Clotilda has been the missing piece of that story,” he said.


Final survivor of last American slave ship revealed

Dr. Hannah Durkin of the U.K.'s University of Newcastle has determined the identity of the last survivor of the last American slave ship. Redoshi, given the slave name 'Sally Smith,' was kidnapped from West Africa at age 12 and, after spending five years as a slave, died in Alabama in 1937 at the age of 89 or 90. Previously, the last survivor of the transatlantic slave trade was thought to be Oluale Kossola, also known as Cudjo Lewis, who died in 1935.

After painstaking research, the final survivor of the last American slave ship has been identified.

An expert from the U.K.’s University of Newcastle carefully pieced together the life of Redoshi, from her kidnapping as a child in West Africa, to her enslavement in Alabama and, eventually, her freedom.

Redoshi was one of 116 children and young people taken from West Africa in 1860 on board the Clotilda, the last American slave ship, according to Dr. Hannah Durkin, lecturer in Literature and Film in Newcastle University’s School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics. Given the slave name Sally Smith, Redoshi died in Alabama in 1937.

Previously, the last survivor of the Clotilda was thought to be Oluale Kossola, also known as Cudjo Lewis, who died in 1935.

Redoshi, described as "Aunt Sally Smith," appeared briefly in a 1930s public information film entitled “the Negro Farmer” that was produced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. (U.S. Department of Agriculture/National Archives)

The BBC reports that Redoshi, who was kidnapped at age 12, was about 89 or 90 at the time of her death in Selma, Alabama.

Durkin’s research sheds new light on Redoshi’s life. After arriving in the U.S., she was purchased by Washington Smith, owner of the Bogue Chitto plantation in Dallas County, Alabama and a founder of the Bank of Selma.

A slave for nearly 5 years, Redoshi worked both in the Bogue Chitto plantation house and in the fields, according to the research. She married a fellow slave known as William or Billy, whom she had been kidnapped with. Her husband died in the 1910s or 1920s.

African slaves being taken on board ship bound for USA - engraving 1881. (Photo by Stefano Bianchetti/Corbis via Getty Images)

After her emancipation, Redoshi continued to live on the Bogue Chitto plantation with her daughter.

Durkin found out about Redoshi while conducting other research. The former slave was mentioned in the writings of famous author Zora Neale Hurston Durkin also found references in other texts, including a newspaper article and a memoir by civil rights activist Amelia Boynton Robinson. In her book, Boynton Robinson recalls Redoshi, writing that she was forced to become a child bride on the Clotilda.

Redoshi also appears briefly in a 1930s public information film entitled “the Negro Farmer” that was produced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In the film, she is described as “Aunt Sally Smith, born in Africa and long past her 110th year when she died in 1937.” Durkin believes that this description of Redoshi’s age is likely an exaggeration.

Positioning of slaves on a slave ship, 1786, illustration from Abolition of the slavetrade, 1808, London. Slavery, England, 18th century. (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)

Her research into Redoshi’s life is published in the journal Slavery and Abolition.

“The discovery increases our understanding of the slave trade because it gives meaningful voice to a female survivor for the first time,” Dr. Durkin told Fox News, via email. “We can now begin to reflect on what transatlantic slavery and its aftermath was like for an individual woman.”

Part of the triangular trade in slaves and goods between Africa, the Americas and Europe, the transatlantic transport of slaves is known as the Middle Passage. Between the 16th and the 19th centuries, around 12 million African slaves were shipped to the Americas, according to the Boston African American National Historical Site. About 15 percent of slaves died during the horrific voyages, which lasted around 80 days.

A detail view of a length of chain in the museum aboard the Tall ship Kaskelot, a replica of the 18th century wooden square rigger ship 'The Zong', on the River Thames by Tower Bridge on March 29, 2007 in London, England. (Photo by Bruno Vincent/Getty Images)

“What is shocking is that we now know that the trauma of the Middle Passage as a lived experience did not end until 1937, so only really 80 years ago,” Durkin told Fox News.

Durkin notes that, while Redoshi lived through tremendous trauma and separation, there is a sense of pride in the texts that describe her. “Her resistance, either through her effort to own her own land in America or in smaller acts like keeping her West African beliefs alive, taking care in her appearance and her home and the joy she took in meeting a fellow African in the 1930s, help to show who she was,” she explained in a statement.

Last year, it was reported that the remains of the Clotilda may have been found in the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, Alabama. The notorious ship was set ablaze after delivering its captive cargo from Benin in West Africa to Mobile. Subsequent analysis, however, revealed that the wreckage does not belong to the Clotilda.

African slaves working the winch on a ship, watercolour by Edouard Riou (1833-1900). Paris, Musée National Des Arts Africains Et Oceaniens (Art Museum) (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)

Archaeologists in Delaware recently discovered the gravestone of a Civil War soldier that may provide a vital clue in uncovering a long-lost African-American cemetery.

Experts working at a property near Frankford, Sussex County, found the headstone bearing the name “C.S. Hall” and the details “Co. K, 32nd U.S.C.T.” This refers to Company K of the 32nd U.S. Colored Troops, which was a designation for African-American soldiers, according to Delaware’s Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs.

The site is known to the local community as containing the remains of African-Americans that lived in the area, officials say. In February, officials said that the remains of slaves have not yet been confirmed at the site, either through archaeological excavation or analysis of historical records.

Fox News’ Chris Ciaccia contributed to this article. Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers


Clotilda wreckage discovered in Alabama is the last known ship to bring slaves to America

The Alabama Historical Commission confirmed Wednesday it had discovered the wreckage of the Clotilda, the last known ship to bring slaves to America. Remnants of the Clotilda was discovered in in a previously unexplored area of the Mobile River.

Researchers spent a year working to confirm the vessel's identity. Their findings were "independently reviewed and agreed upon by an international suite of leading authorities," the Alabama Historical Commission said in a press release.

"We are cautious about placing names on shipwrecks that no longer bear a name or something like a bell with the ship's name on it, but the physical and forensic evidence powerfully suggests that this is Clotilda," said maritime archeologist Dr. James Delgado, who led the project.

Delgado worked with the Alabama Historical Commission and multiple groups, including the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture, National Park Services, and SEARCH, INC, an archeology and cultural resource company. The search for the ship's wreckage has gone on for years, and previous claims that it had been found were later disproven.

The Clotilda sailed for less than half a year in 1860 but illegally transported 110 enslaved people from Benin, Africa to Mobile, Alabama &mdash 52 years after the Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves was implemented.

Federal authorities were tipped off about the ship, leading to its co-conspirators, Timothy Meaher and Captain William Foster, to offload the Clotilda's cargo to a riverboat. They then burned the Clotilda and set it adrift. Slaves who survived the voyage remained indentured until the end of the Civil War in 1865.

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A group of freed slaves who were forcibly transported on the Clotilda later acquired land and created the Africatown community near the Mobile River.

"Finding the Clotilda represents the final nautical bookend to one of the most horrific periods in American and world history. It is my hope that this discovery brings a comforting peace to the Africatown descendants and begins a process of genuine community and memory restoration," Kamau Sadiki, a member of the Slave Wrecks Project and peer review team that confirmed the identity of the Clotilda, said in a press release.

The groups responsible for discovering the wreckage of the Clotilda will release a full archeological report Thursday, May 30.

First published on May 22, 2019 / 11:00 PM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

April Siese is a social media producer for CBS News, specializing in breaking news.


Wreckage of the Last U.S. Slave Ship Is Finally Identified in Alabama - HISTORY

Descendants of enslaved Africans on last known slave ship imagine the terrible journey

The Clotilda was burned and sunk in an Alabama River after bringing 110 imprisoned people across the Atlantic in 1860. Two years ago, its remains were found. Anderson Cooper reports on the discovery of the wreck and the nearby community with descendants of the enslaved aboard the ship.

Two years ago, a sunken ship was found in the bottom of an Alabama river. It turned out to be the long lost wreck of the Clotilda, the last slave ship known to have brought captured Africans to America in 1860. At least 12 million Africans were shipped to the Americas, in the more than 350 years of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, but as you’ll hear tonight, the journey of the 110 captive men, women, and children brought to Alabama on the Clotilda, is one of the best-documented slave voyages in history. The names of those enslaved Africans, and their story, has been passed down through the generations by their descendants, some of whom still live just a few miles from where the ship was found in a community called Africatown.

For 160 years this muddy stretch of the Mobile River has covered up a crime. In July 1860 the Clotilda was towed here, under cover of darkness. Imprisoned in its cramped cargo hold, 110 enslaved Africans.

Joyceyln Davis, Lorna Gail Woods, and Thomas Griffin are direct descendants of this African man, Oluale. Enslaved in Alabama, his owner changed his name to Charlie Lewis.

Joyceyln Davis: I just imagined myself being on that ship just listening to the waves and the water, and just not knowing where you were going.

Joyceyln Davis, Lorna Gail Woods, and Thomas Griffin are direct descendants of this African man, Oluale. Enslaved in Alabama, his owner changed his name to Charlie Lewis. Pollee Allen, whose African name was Kupollee, was the ancestor of Jeremy Ellis and Darron Patterson.

Darron Patterson: No clothes. Eating where they defecated. Only allowed outta the cargo hold for one day a week for two months. How many people do you, do we know now that could’ve survived something like that, without losing their mind? To read more to go the link below:

Wreck of last known slave ship – found in Alabama


No one claims ownership of last slave ship 'Clotilda'

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - Alabama’s state historical agency apparently will retain control of the last U.S. slave ship, the Clotilda, after no one else laid claim to the wreckage.

Friday was the deadline under federal court rules for any potential owners to request control of wreckage of the wooden schooner, which was scuttled and burned near Mobile after illegally bringing about 110 captives to Alabama from west Africa in 1860.

Because no one else sought the ship’s remains, the state can now move forward in federal court to take permanent possession, Andi Martin, a spokeswoman for the Alabama Historical Commission, said Monday. The agency already has temporary hold on an artifact from the wreck.

Researchers identified the wreckage of the ship earlier this year north of Mobile. It’s unclear how much the remains may be worth, but they could be priceless given the ship’s historical importance.

A wealthy Mobile businessman, Timothy Meaher, financed the Clotilda’s lone slave-trading trip after betting he could import Africans despite a ban enacted decades earlier, historical accounts show.

Officials say they’re unsure how much of the Clotilda remains, but they believe at least some of the hull could be intact in the muddy bottom of the Mobile River near an island. It’s also unclear what might be done with the wreckage or whether it can be raised.

The two-masted, 86-foot-long (26.2-meter-long) merchant ship was constructed and operated by William Foster, an antebellum captain on the coast. It was purchased before the trip to Africa by Meaher, who owned steamships, a sawmill and land in Mobile.

Meaher outfitted the ship for the voyage to Africa and provided money to purchase the Africans, according to an investigative report released by the state after the ship’s discovery.

The state’s report indicated Meaher used copper to sheath the wooden hull before the journey, and his son Augustine Meaher later claimed metal that remained on the ship after the scuttling was worth $100,000. Other accounts claim family members dynamited the ship’s hull for the metal as late as the 1950s.

Descendants of Meaher, who remain among Mobile’s most prominent families, have not commented publicly on the discovery and did not mount a claim for the Clotilda’s wreckage.

Freed after the Civil War, the Africans settled near Mobile in a community called Africatown, USA , which their descendants remain.


Wreck of last known slave ship in the US may have been found

A year before the American civil war, an Alabama businessman set out to win a bet with friends. The international slave trade had been outlawed for decades, but he wagered he could smuggle slaves from Africa to the United States without being caught.

To prove it could be done, the businessman, Timothy Meaher, bought an 86-foot-long sailboat, the Clotilda, and hired its builder to captain a trek to West Africa. Under the cover of night in July 1860, the Clotilda returned to the waters off Alabama with 110 slaves, carefully navigating the tributaries around Mobile to evade authorities.

But a few miles north of Mobile, the captain and its crew grew concerned that the authorities were on their trail. They unloaded the slaves and set the boat on fire in the muddy banks of the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, the evidence of their illicit voyage, and the last known American slave ship, never to be found.

Until now. A reporter in Alabama said in an article published on Tuesday that he may have found the wreckage on the shore of a swampy island in the delta, thanks to the same weather system that produced a winter “bomb cyclone” weeks ago. The conditions caused extremely low tides in the area, allowing the boat to reveal itself: charred beams forming the shape of a vessel with almost the exact dimensions of the Clotilda.

“That’s why I went looking when I did. You would not have been able to see it on a normal low tide, it would have all been under water,” said the reporter, Ben Raines of AL.com. Raines, an investigative reporter, is the son of Howell Raines, a former executive editor of the New York Times.

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While the wreckage has not been officially identified as the Clotilda, Raines recently took a shipwright expert and a team of archaeologists to survey it. What’s left of the boat – blackened beams and timber, threadless bolts and iron drifts – dates its construction to same period of the Clotilda, they said.

‘Very compelling’

“The location is right, the construction seems to be right, from the proper time period, it appears to be burnt,” Gregory D Cook, one of the archaeologists who visited the site, told AL.com. “So I’d say very compelling, for sure.”

The story of the Clotilda has held a significant place in the history of slavery in the United States, which abolished it in 1865. It was also influential in the history of Alabama, where the slaves brought over on the Clotilda settled, creating what became known as Africatown in Mobile, after emancipation.

Since Meaher boasted in a newspaper article in 1890 about his wicked scheme and the fate of the Clotilda, people have searched the waters, islands and shores off Mobile for signs of its remains. Raines wrote that he believed previous explorers looked near the site he found but never exactly there.

The investigation was sparked in September when Raines asked a friend for thoughts on what he should pursue next. The friend suggested he try to find the Clotilda. And so he did. “What a tale – and such a wholly American tale,” Raines said on Wednesday. “All the good, the bad, and the ugly that we could have produced, all wrapped up in one event.”

Captain’s journal

Raines said in the article that he based his subsequent search on the 1890 newspaper article, the apparent notes by the reporter who wrote it and the journal of Clotilda’s captain, William Foster. There were several major clues that guided Raines, who benefited from his experience as a nature guide in the area. The journal mentions that the slaves were transferred to another boat near 12 Mile Island, where Foster said the Clotilda was set on fire.

During high tide, water covers any sign of the wreckage. But Raines said he set out on a boat to find the wreckage during especially low tides brought on by a large weather system that swept the country this month and eventually produced large snowfall in some parts of the Northeast.

“I think finding the Clotilda would be a fitting capstone for both Mobile’s slaving history and the war that finally ended the practice,” Raines wrote in the article, adding, “It is easy, standing in the wintertime gloom of these Alabama swamps, to imagine that old ghosts haunt these bayous.” – New York Times


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