MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) —On Friday, descendants of the Clotilda attended the 2022 Martha’s Vineyard African American Film festival.
At the festival, a screening of the Netflix documentary, “Descendant” was shared about Africatown descendants. “Descendant” is a documentary following the lives of the people of Africatown. The documentary shares personal stories, as well as community history from descendants of the Clotilda.
Joycelyn Davis is a direct descendant of Charlie Lewis Veta Tunstall who was a part of the Clotilda story. She is also featured in “Descendant.” “We filmed about 4 years,” said Davis. “…around all the events coming up to the finding of the Clotilda.”
Not only was the film featured in the festival, but special guests also made an appearance at the event. The special guests were the Obamas. Former President Barack Obama has a production company called, “Higher Ground,” and invested in “Descendant.” The efforts of the Obama’s assisted in bringing this story to the big screen. “I went to both inaugurations, and I never thought I would meet former president Obama,” said Davis. ” It’s like hanging out with my young uncle. He’s just so cool… and down to earth.”
The Clotilda was the last known ship to carry enslaved Africans to the United States and arrived near Mobile Bay. This all took place 40 years after African slave trading became illegal. Davis said after years of fighting for her family’s truth, she’s glad it’s finally being set free.
“I’ve grown up with this story all of my life and a lot of people in the community have known about this story… I have always known and felt in my heart that this story should blow up and go globally,” said Davis. “The Africatown and the Clotilda story is just as big as Roots and Amistad because these are true actually facts.”
Davis won’t reveal the exact date the film will appear on Netflix. However, she said there will be a screening of the film in Mobile before it is featured on the streaming service.