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New documentary puts Alabama community in the spotlight

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A new documentary with Alabama ties premiered this weekend. “Afrikan By Way of American” explores the historic community of Africatown. The town was founded by former slaves who were trafficked aboard the Clotilda, the ship that transported the last known shipment of enslaved people to Mobile Bay in 1959. Africatown and the Clotilda came back into the spotlight in 2019 when the remains of the slave ship were discovered in Mobile River. 

Theo Moore, the director of Afrikan by Way of American, said that he didn’t want to tell the story of Africatown with a focus on slavery.  Instead, the film focuses on the successes of Africatown’s unique community.

“We try not to spend too much time on victimization because I think we all know that story. We don’t get the opportunity to learn about the success of a lot of black settlements right after slavery was abolished,” Moore said. “I wanted to actually focus on the success of the area and the accomplishments that they were able to bring into fruition. “

Moore also founded Hiztorical Vizion Productions, the Opelika, Alabama non-profit company behind the film. Moore said that the mission of the company is to help preserve untold pieces of Alabama history.

“Alabama has a lot of gems in regards to our history. Basically, Alabama history changed the trajectory of this country in regards to social justice, and we have to preserve this history and let people know about it,” Moore said. “And Africatown is one of those places.”
 

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