‘A Lost Chapter’: Remains of Last American Slave Ship, the Clotilda, ID’d on Alabama Coast

Wreckage from the last known ship to bring enslaved Africans to the United States has been discovered in the murky waters of the northern Gulf Coast near Alabama, historians confirmed Wednesday.

In a statement, the Alabama Historical Commission said remains of the schooner Clotilda were identified and verified near Mobile after several months of assessment.

“The discovery of the Clotilda is an extraordinary archaeological find,” said the commission’s executive director Lisa Demetropoulos Jones, adding that the ship’s journey “represented one of the darkest eras of modern history,” and the wreck provides “tangible evidence of slavery.”

The surprising find comes nearly a year after archaeologists thought they’d discovered the lost ship, which was used to illegally transport 110 enslaved Blacks from modern-day Benin to Mobile in 1860, then sailed into the delta and burned to hide the evidence.

The rig was never seen again.

Captives brought over on the Clotilda were eventually freed and settled in a community now known as Africatown USA after their passage back to the Motherland was denied.

Joycelyn Davis, a sixth-generation descendant of one of the Africans brought over on the ship, told The Associated Press she got chills after learning that the wreckage had been discovered.

“I think about the people who came before us who labored and fought and worked so hard,” Davis said. “I’m sure people had given up on finding it. It’s a wow factor.”














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