America’s last slave ship is more intact than anyone thought
Archaeologists studying the Clotilda, which was identified in 2019, say the shipwreck may contain a wealth of well-preserved artifacts, from barrels of food to human DNA.
When the 160-year-old wreckage of the Clotilda, America’s last known slave ship, was positively identified in the murky waters of the Mobile River in 2019, that was enough for Joycelyn Davis.
Growing up in historic Africatown near Mobile, Alabama, Davis always believed the stories she heard about the origin of her community: That a wealthy white businessman made a bet that he could import enslaved Africans into Mobile, long after the practice had been outlawed. That the Clotilda’s captain, William Foster, returned from Africa in 1860 with 108 captives on board—including Charlie Lewis, Davis’s ancestor and one of the founders of Africatown. That Foster had tried to destroy the evidence of his crime by burning and scuttling