She was just two years old when she arrived in Mobile, Alabama, in July 1860, a captive aboard the infamous Clotilda, the last known slave ship to bring Africans to America. She died in 1940 at the age 82, making her the last known survivor of the last known slave ship. Her name was Matilda McCrear.
Only a year ago, headlines announced that another Clotilda captive—Redoshi, aka Sally Smith—was discovered to be the longest-lived survivor. Before her, the titleholder was Cudjo Lewis. Now, after months of research, I’ve determined that McCrear outlasted them both.
McCrear’s granddaughter, Eva Berry, now 92, remembers her as a dark-skinned woman with long hair. “She talked to me about her mama and her sisters on