In 1860, the Mobile-built schooner Clotilda entered the Mobile River with 109 enslaved persons on the last known voyage of a slave ship to bring people into the United States in violation
In 1860, the Mobile-built schooner Clotilda entered the Mobile River with 109 enslaved persons on the last known voyage of a slave ship to bring people into the United States in violation of laws banning the slave trade – but not slavery. It was then burned and sunk, but never were it and what had happened forgotten. The June 2019 announcement of the discovery and identification of the wreck off Mobile’s Twelvemile Island has again focused attention not only on the story of the schooner. It also focused on the people brought to Alabama on Clotilda, and of Africatown, now part of Mobile, home to descendants of some of the schooner’s unwilling captives who when freedom came, established the community in the aftermath of the Civil War. The wreck lies in a graveyard of ships that were purposely scuttled or abandoned in a backwater of the Mobile River. This is the story of the research, science and forensic archaeology used to identify the wreck of Clotilda, a nationally-significant archaeological site now protected by the Alabama Historical Commission for the people of Alabama. Dr. James Delgado, one of the members of the team that identified the Clotilda, will present his findings at this public event.