“FOOTPRINTS OF OUR PAST” – THE 1859 CLOTILDA, THE LAST SLAVE SHIP TO AMERICA

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THE FRUITS OF “OUR” FAMILY TREE COULD HAVE COME ON THE LAST SLAVE SHIP TO AMERICA (Florida)

Not every step in our advancement from slavery happened with “persons”. Events have shaped us, moved us and defined us as well! Our roots run deep and the rise again of the African, I believe, is destiny. However, it was painfully slow. Our ascension is also the burden our “plight”, as a race. A major event in our American history was the ban on slavery and incoming slave ships in 1859. The last known slave ship that came into America was called the Clotilda Schooner. It brought the last of the enslaved Africans to reach America. It was a huge blow to slavery to have the end of the importing and raping of the Motherland. I wish to highlight this event because of the town it birthed, AfricaTown USA and the face and fame of Cudjo Lewis. He took charge of the enslaved tribesmen, established AfricaTown and began a fellowship with black activists of his day. The nature of the evil began to die and slavery began to peel away.

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TRUE BEGINNINGS OF OUR CIVIL RIGHTS “ROOTS LONG BEFORE THE 60s

The Schooner Clotilda was the last slave ship to bring captives from Africa to America, even through in 1859, it was already illegal. The United States brought the captives to Mobile Bay, Alabama with 110-160 slaves. It was captained by William Foster. Foster was illegally working with Timothy Meaher, a wealthy shipyard/shipper whom built the Clotilda. This was a man whom built a ship for the purpose of holding human beings who they deemed “Chattel”, not real human life. Never has greed been more sinister than the trade of slaves! When the Clotilda arrived, the Federal authorities were already on alert and headed to intercept. Foster, knowing the illegal nature of the dead business, arrived at night loading slaves in riverboats to transfer them ashore. He then burned the Clotilda and sank it. Slaves were sold and Meaher retained 30 of them for his property. They were just 24 hours ahead of the Federal slave enforcement.

The Africans that were brought on the Clotilda could not be legally enslaved or sold openly like in the past. The American Civil War ended just six years earlier after the Illegal Slave Trade Act that was passed with the North’s victory. It also invoked the change of Republicans and Democrats and their base. Since it was an illegal ship, you should know the last so-called legal documented slave ship was logged as the “Wanderer”. Yet, many illegal slave ships ported in the USA even though it was a dying trade. The Clotilda was the last, mainly because the government ordered the U.S. Navy to stop all incoming slave ships. The punishment was ten years imprisonment and a $2.00 per slave fine.

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SLAVE SHIPS DOCKED AND UNLOADED OUR ANCESTORS TO AN AUCTION HOUSE (STATIONS) LIKE THIS ONE!

Children made up a large portion of the human cargo on the Clotilda because of the life long slavery they could get from them. What a lack of human sympathy this was! The slaves of the Clotilda were freed upon investigation. This allowed them to to build a town in Mobile, Alabama called “AfricaTown”. It was also the rise of another African American hero named Cudjo Lewis (his African name was Kazoola). He was the last survivor of the Clotilda and AfricaTown. In 1927, the great writer of the Harlem Renaissance, Zora Neale Hurston, interviewed Mr. Lewis for the “Journal of Negro History” and made a short film about him and his journey from Africa to America. Lewis also served as the spokesman for AfricaTown and his tribesmen “Tarkar”. Lewis, became a symbol of strength in America, meeting with black leaders of the day like W.E.B. Du Bois, Booker T. Washington (sellout) and many more. He took the stance and rang it out loud in the 1860’s and early 1870’s with his words “Africans need to adopt land in America, create an Africa within these lands.”

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LOST IN THE HISTORY OF SLAVERY IN AMERICA “IS THE JEWS’ CONTRIBUTION AND ANOTHER WAY THAT RACE GOT RICH!!!

AfricaTown was met with hate and the National Guard had to come in while it was still being built. It farmed and raised it’s own food, sold soul food and traditional African food to many whites and had peace and profit for a time. Lewis died in 1935. He was 94 years old. One of his famed statements was “I’m trying to out live discrimination.” In AfricaTown, the Union Baptist Church has a Cudjo Lewis Memorial Statue.

This was an epic event in our plight and in American history. Word from slaves spread out about the last slave ship. It must have given so much peace and comfort for those who saw no relief in sight. A quiet victory. Pride was what Lewis gave to the surge towards our footprints of independence. Stay with us as we explore our journey to today. To know our history is the duty of all of us. Why? To prevent anyone from enslaving us or taking advantage of us ever again! Know the roots of your race and life. We will not make the mistakes that brought us from Kings to things!

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KNOW OUR HISTORY…..THE LAST SLAVE SHIP TO AMERICA

#YoungBlackHistorian
The fruits of your family tree could have came on the “Last Slave Ship” to American shores.
Bonded to our roots.
Writer KJS.
Copyright 2017

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