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Lecture series focuses on the slave ship Clotilda

APR's Guy Busby

The story of an illegal slave ship brought to Alabama and the descendants of its captives is front and center today. A two-day lecture at Troy University is focusing on the discovery the Clotilda and the significance of the Africatown community. The vessel was the last ship to bring enslaved Africans to the US. Descendants of some of the enslaved later founded Africatown in Mobile.

Dr. Leslie Kathryn Tucker organized the McPherson-Mitchell lecture series. She explains the history of the Clotilda is important to Alabama.

“We wanted to talk about the Clotilda and Africatown because those are such significant topics to our nation’s and world’s history and pour on so many different areas from environmental justice to archeology to literature and journalism,” said Tucker.

Dr. Tucker says Africatown is the community in Mobile where descendants of some of the enslaved people settled.

“Their descendants have passed down their legacy, their traditions, parts of the language and speech patterns and culture, in a way that really wasn’t possible in other African American communities and descendants of enslaved peoples around the nation.”

A film about the Clotilda and Africatown will be shown tonight as part of the series. Tomorrow’s events include a roundtable discussion with author Ben Raines who discovered the ship’s wreckage.

Editor's note—

“The 2023 McPherson-Mitchell Lecture was funded, in part, by grants from the Alabama Humanities Alliance, and South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts."

Joe Moody is a senior news producer and host for Alabama Public Radio. Before joining the news team, he taught academic writing for several years nationally and internationally. Joe has a Master of Arts in foreign language education as well as a Master of Library and Information Studies. When he is not playing his tenor banjo, he enjoys collecting and listening to jazz records from the 1950s and 60s.
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