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The Clotilda was the last slave ship to land on American soil, docked in Mobile Bay, Alabama, in July 1860—more than half a century after the passage of a federal law banning the importation of slaves, and nine months before the beginning of the Civil War. Five of its passengers, ranging in age from two to nineteen when kidnapped, died between 1922 and 1940.

Today’s guest is Hannah Durkin, author of “Survivors of the Clotilda: The Lost Stories of the Last Captives of the American Slave Trade.” We follow their lives from their kidnappings in what is modern-day Benin through a terrifying 45-day journey across the Middle Passage; from the subsequent sale of the ship’s 110 African men, women, and children in 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 Gee’s Bend Quilters Collective—a black artistic circle whose cultural influence remains enormous.


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