“We should be proud of the land they almost starved to death trying to buy, probably so they could leave a legacy for us,” Wood says. Wikimedia CommonsCudjo Lewis with Abache, another survivor of the Clotilda. "They were enslaved." Twice a week we compile our most fascinating features and deliver them straight to you. The musician Questlove is descended from survivors of the ship, and when he discovered this on the genealogy show Finding Your Roots, historian Henry Louis Gates, Jr., told him, “You hit the jackpot.”. Text on this page is printable and can be used according to our Terms of Service. Originally built to transport legally imported and exported goods, changes like extra sails, supplies for people, and wood for sleeping platforms were later added for the illegal transport of human cargo. California Do Not Sell My Info Step 5: Provide students with some sort of a counter (chips or cards) to monitor how many times they have participated in the conversation. All Rights Reserved. The remains of a wooden ship found covered in mud in an Alabama river delta may be the Clotilda, the last vessel to bring slaves, illegally, to the United States nearly 160 years ago. “They have been very resilient. Children need to hear this story to know that it is true that they can be whatever it is they want to be in life, no matter what circumstance they are born into. Of the millions of men, women and children transported from Africa to America as slaves, Cudjo was then the only person alive to tell the story of this integral part of the nation’s history. "And the community is yearning to see their history displayed in an international fashion.". A mural of the Clotilda is painted along Bay Bridge Road in Mobile's Africatown community. “[The ship] wasn’t very deep. Ocean Exploration and Research: What Tools Does a Marine Archaeologist Use? “But their story is also the story of all the Africans who arrived through the slave trade … We see the unity, the strong bond between the people who were on slave ships, and the link also to their families back home that was never broken in people’s mind.”. The Clotilda was an atypical schooner built by William Foster in 1855. Authentication and confirmation of the ship’s wreckage were spearheaded by the Alabama Historical Commission and SEARCH Inc., a group of marine archaeologists and divers who specialize in historic shipwrecks. This spring, the community secured a grant to build a museum, and many researchers and organizations remain interested in searching for the Clotilda. "I think it would hopefully give us that little final push we need to do something transformative and to do something that is on part with the discovery, that will showcase the history and uniqueness of that area for years and years to come. Privacy Statement Sadiki says touching that vessel made him “hear the screams and the horrors and the suffering” of those aboard. How can the history of this ship drenched in oppression liberate us,” Gardullo wonders. Students consider factors contributing to the ownership of artifacts found during excavation and develop a detailed, visual representation of the exhibit or memorial they would like to propose to the Alabama Historical Commission (AHC). Though they later determined the vessel they’d found wasn’t the Clotilda… Finding the Clotilda Students examine the experience of being held captive and consider why the Clotilda’s discovery is such an important find for the descendants of enslaved people still living in Africatown. Identification and Authentication Seminar Prep Sheet: As students are working, walk around monitoring their responses. What Charlie Lewis and others didn't give up on the Clotilda, or after their enslavement, she said, was their determination to preserve their identity and to pass along their story. Others visiting the Africatown Graveyard on Tuesday included Cleon Jones - a former Major League Baseball player who's now the president of the Africatown Community Development Organization - and his wife, Angela. She explained that one possibility is a "big read" program, where community residents collectively read and reflect upon Zora Neale Hurston’s book Barracoon.
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