Africatown, also known as AfricaTown USA and Plateau, is a historic community located three miles (5 km) north of downtown Mobile, Alabama.
It was formed by a group of 32 West Africans, who in 1860, were bought and transported against their will in the last known illegal shipment of slaves to the United States.
The schooner Clotilda was the last known U.S. slave ship to bring these captives from Africa to the United States, arriving at Mobile Bay, in the autumn of 1859 or July 9, 1860, with 110 African men, women, and children.
The Atlantic slave trade had been banned since 1808, but 110 slaves held by the Kingdom of Dahomey were smuggled into Mobile on the Clotilda, which was burned and scuttled to try to conceal its illicit cargo.
More than 30 of these people, believed to be ethnic Yoruba, Ewe, and Fon, founded and created their own community in what became Africatown.
They retained their West African customs and language into the 1950s, while their children and some elders also learned English.
Cudjo Kazoola Lewis, a founder of Africatown, lived until 1935 and was long thought to be the last survivor of the slaves from the Clotilda living in Africatown.
Readers Bureau, Contributor
Edited by Jesus Chan
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