This is an immersive and revelatory history of the survivors of the Clotilda, the last ship of the Atlantic slave trade, whose lives diverged and intersected in profound ways. The Clotilda docked in Mobile Bay, Alabama, in July 1860 â€“ more than half a century after the passage of a federal law banning the importation of captive Africans, and nine months before the beginning of the Civil War. The last of its survivors lived well into the twentieth century.
They were the last witnesses to the final act of a terrible and significant period in world history. In this epic work, Dr. Hannah Durkin tells the stories of the Clotilda’s 110 captives, drawing on her intensive archival, historical, and sociological research.
Survivors follows their lives from their kidnappings in what is modern-day Nigeria through a terrifying 45-day journey across the Middle Passage; from the subsequent sale of the ship’s 103 surviving children and young people into slavery across Alabama to the dawn of the Civil Rights movement in Selma; from the foundation of an all-Black African Town (later Africatown) in Northern Mobile – an inspiration for writers of the Harlem Renaissance, including Zora Neale Hurston – to the foundation of the quilting community of Gee’s Bend – a Black artistic circle whose cultural influence remains enormous. An astonishing, deeply compelling tapestry of history, biography and social commentary, Survivors is a tour de force that deepens our knowledge and understanding of the Atlantic slave trade and its far-reaching influence on life today.
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