A community center dedicated to the survivors of America’s last slave ship will become a tourist attraction in Mobile.
The Heritage House center and museum will open this winter in Africatown. The Mobile neighborhood was founded mostly by survivors of The Clotilda cargo boat. The remains of that last slave ship were discovered in the Mobile River in 2018.
Meg Fowler directs the History Museum of Mobile. Her group is creating an exhibit in Heritage House.
“It will be a rich, multisensory space, dense with compelling stories and images," she said. "People can expect a dark and somber atmosphere as visitors go step by step through the chronology of events before and after The Clotilda voyage, learning about the gravity of that history.”
Many issues face the Africatown community today. Industries brought employment then pollution to the neighborhood. Fowler wants to focus on stories of struggle and hope in the exhibit.
“We want to use primary sources wherever possible to center the voices of the survivors of The Clotilda and then of those who would go on to found Africatown," she said. "We also want to tell absolutely as many stories of individuals as possible.”
Stakeholders hope the museum will drive tourism to Africatown. Mobile County commissioners have also begun a study to determine whether it would be practical to develop Africatown into a State Park.