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Never let the World Forget

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Our Story

We will never let the world forget! 

Sometimes good stories don’t take long to write.

Others require much longer research, especially when there’s simply more to talk about and even more puzzling details to unravel.

The account of slave ship Clotilda is one of those mysterious chronicles that can’t be written in a hurry. As a matter of fact, it’s taken 159 years to be told and is still not finished.

It started with simple people living simple lives in their ‘own’ African country, before being captured by a rival tribe, sold to a wealthy slave owner from America and forced to live in squalor on a two-month voyage across an unforgiving Atlantic Ocean.

And despite a then 50 year-old federal law against importing Africans for the purpose of working in the South’s cotton fields, Clotilda and its cargo of 110 ‘human beings’ (although some accounts say a female jumped overboard to her death at sea) still dropped anchor at Mobile Bay on July 9, 1860 … capping a gut-wrenching 60-day voyage for those terrified captives. 

Even more reprehensible is that the entire saga was merely to settle a bet by ship owner Timothy Meaher that federal authorities could indeed be outsmarted.

Fast forward to 124 years later, March of 1984 to be exact, when nine descendants of those original “110” … Eva Jones, Dell Keeby, Herman Richardson, LaDresta Green Sims, Paul Green, Melvin Wright, Lillian Autrey, Linda C. Williams Jones and Helen Richardson Jones … filed paperwork with the State of Alabama to register as ‘The Africatown Direct Descendants of the Clotilda, Inc.’ 

That group’s elected leaders were President Beatrice Ellis and Vice-president Theodore Arthur, a noted saxophonist, who along with several other officers of that original association still actively tell the Clotilda story today … including Herbert Pair, gifted historians Lorna Woods and Vernetta Henson, and Doris Lee-Allen. 

The group’s mission was very clearly spelled out in that document still on file in Montgomery: “Preserve and perpetuate the culture and heritage of the last Africans brought to America … enlighten society about their descendants and African history.”

Translation: Never let the world forget!

And now that the scuttled hulk of Clotilda has been found in murky, alligator infested waters around ‘12 Mile Island’ near Mobile, the story of that last ship to ferry enslaved Africans to America is being told in detail through new books, magazine articles, websites, podcasts and soon several documentaries and movies.

Even more “110” descendants have also now come forward to carry on that original group’s mission, this time simply operating as ‘The Clotilda Descendants Association’ (CDA).

Our goal is to bring all things Clotilda to light … things infamously, and literally, done in the dark when that illegal ship set sail from Benin on the west coast of Africa with our terrified relatives crammed into overcrowded, filthy cargo holds.

WE will forever tell their stories, uphold their legacy, build the ‘Africatown Museum and Performing Arts Center’ to honor them and others who helped shape the community… and press for accountability of the crime that was Clotilda.

We ARE 110!

 

What We Do

The Clotilda Descendants Association, Inc., is dedicated to preserving the history and well-being of the Africatown Community our forefathers worked so hard to create.

We are totally committed to carrying on their legacy through continuous community involvement, education of future generations of descendants and keeping our ancestor’s dreams of prosperity alive.

To accomplish this, we will work with and support our equally dedicated partners to bring Africatown new housing development, technological ideas to sustain it, renewed community pride and an undying passion to ensure it lives on forever.

With Your Help, We are Making The World a Better Place

Our Story

Our Mission & Approach

The Clotilda Descendants Association, Inc., is dedicated to preserving the history and well-being of the Africatown Community our forefathers worked so hard to create.

A Letter from Us

The promise of the Clotilda Descendants Association is to never let the world forget the resiliency of those 110 brave African men, women and – yes – children crammed nakedly and against their will into the cargo hold of a ship in 1860 for a two-month long journey to Mobile … a trip that was merely for the amusement of a wealthy white slave owner.

 That saga changed the lives of those people (yes, they WERE PEOPLE) whom, despite it all, five years later built their own community and shaped it to resemble that beloved homeland they would never see again.

Now, WE …  their proud descendants, our many friends and partners … are united to ensure that the Africatown Community they built lives on FOREVER!

We will accomplish this by commemorating and educating the world of sacrifices our ancestors made, to underscore the importance of never ceasing to strive for a better life.

We descendants will give back to the Africatown Community with … among many other things … mentoring, providing scholarships and maintaining community pride.

“Beeni o je!”
(Yoruban for “So be it!”)

 

Clotilda Descendants Association

Our Partners

Give Today

On Saturday, July 9 th , the Clotilda Descendants Association will commemorate the
162 nd  year anniversary of the harrowing voyage that brought their ancestors to America
with the annual “Landing” ceremony underneath the Africatown Bridge beginning at
twelve noon.
A ceremonial wreath laying will take place at exactly 1:10 p.m., a symbolic salute to the
memory of those 110 PEOPLE crammed into the cargo hold of Clotilda in 1860 and
brought to Mobile merely to satisfy a bet by a wealthy slaver that he could smuggle a
load of Africans into the country past the watchful eye of authorities.
The congressional act prohibiting all importation of Africans to America for the purpose
of enslavement was enacted on March 2, 1807, and became law on January 1, 1808, …
making it a federal crime.
Descendants of the captives and Africatown community leaders will speak at the event,
and a libation ceremony will also be performed paying honor to the brave men and
women who not only endured an inhumane voyage, but later survived an additional 5
years of captivity before being emancipated and established the North Mobile
community now known as Africatown. 
The descendants ask that all who wish to come and honor the ‘Spirit of the 110’ dress in
white, but if you’re not able to attend take a picture of yourselves and family at exactly
1:10 p.m., and email the photo along with your names to [email protected] so it
can be posted on the CDA website and its Facebook page.
For more information contact the CDA at 251-604-0700 or send an email to the address
provided.

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