Author Ben Raines On His New Book, “The Last Slave Ship”
(aired Thu 1/20/22)
In the summer of 1860 - on the eve of the Civil War - a schooner arrived in Mobile Bay, Alabama.
The Clotilda was the last known ship to bring enslaved Africans to the United States from what is now Benin in West Africa, fifty years after the U.S. Congress outlawed the Atlantic slave trade.
The ship was then burned and scuttled - to try to destroy evidence of the voyage.
The Africans - who were later emancipated during the Civil War - built their own community, Africatown, on the north side of Mobile.
In 2018, the remains of the Clotilda were found - by journalist, filmmaker and charter captain Ben Raines - partially buried in mud along an island in the swampy Mobile-Tensaw Delta, miles north of Mobile and accessible only by boat.
Ben tells these stories in his new book: “The Last Slave Ship: The True Story of How Clotilda Was Found, Her Descendants, and an Extraordinary Reckoning” - published by Simon & Schuster.