Africatown residents react to discovery of the Clotilda

Mobile County
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MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — The last slave ship to transport slaves to America may have been found.

After months of research and a false alarm last year, researchers believe they’ve discovered the ship wreckage of the Clotilda in the Mobile River.

Africatown residents tell News 5 they’re overcome with joy from the discovery. Even state political leaders say they hope it helps them better understand our country’s history.

Cleon Jones, a former professional baseball player for the Mets, grew up in Africatown. “I’m so excited about the finding. There’s never a doubt in my mind that we would find it.” Jones is a descendant of slaves, but none of them were on the Clotilda. 

 “I am just so over the top happy about it. I always believed that it was out there,” said Democratic Senator, Vivian Figures. 

Representative Bradley Byrne also issued the following statement Wednesday saying, “this is a significant day for the people of Africatown but also for Alabama and our nation.”

The discovery comes after archeologists thought they found the ship along the banks of the  river in 2018. But over a year later, the ship was found off Twelve Mile Island in the Mobile River Delta.

“This is going to empower us to help rejuvenate this community, bring people in because of the history and the nature of the beast,” said Jones.

Officials aren’t certain right now what they will do with the ship. It depends on how intact it is when it’s removed from the Mobile River.

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