Preserving a Legacy for the Future
On July 8th, 1860, an illegal slave ship - the Clotilda - landed in Alabama. This July 8th, a new museum opens its doors to share the history of the Clotilda and the descendants of its human cargo – the founders of Africatown. Join APT on Thursday night at 8:00 p.m. as Capitol Journal's Randy Scott and Clotilda descendant Veda Robbins recount the history behind the Clotilda and Africatown and provide a glimpse of what visitors will find inside the new museum.
The Clotilda, the wreckage of which was discovered in 2019 after decades of searching, was the last ship to bring slaves to the U.S., arriving decades after the practice had been banned. Riverboat captain Timothy Meaher was able to evade Federal gunships patrolling the coast to bring 110 African men and women up the Mobile River to 12 Mile Island and offload them on his family's property, and then set fire to the boat to conceal the crime.
The Africans who were brought to 12 Mile Island were divided among the parties who invested in the Clotilda's voyage, with 32 remaining on the Meaher property at Magazine Point. These 32 founded Africatown following the Civil War and were joined by other freed Africans. Many in the community continued to use their native African Yoruba language and customs up until the 1950s.
Scott and Robbins provide more of the history of the Clotilda and Africatown, speak with other descendants of the Clotilda, and take viewers into the Africatown Heritage House Museum for a look at some of the remarkable artifacts there.