The Clotilda Legacy: From Slave Ship to Unity, Revitalization, and Hope with Darron Patterson
Black History on the American Shoreline.
On this episode, hosts Peter Ravella and Tyler Buckingham talk to Darron Patterson, the president of the Clotilda Descendants Association. Darron, himself a descendant of one the survivors of the last slave ship to import enslaved Africans to the United States, talks about the history of the Clotilda. The story of how Patterson's relative arrived in America aboard an illegal slaver started as a bet. 52 years after the US banned the importation of enslaved people, in 1860, a wealthy Alabama business owner named Timothy Meaher wagered that he could orchestrate for a haul of kidnapped Africans to sail under the noses of federal officers and evade capture. With the assistance of Captain William Foster at the helm of an 80ft, two-mast schooner, and following a grueling six-week transatlantic passage, he succeeded. The ship sneaked into Mobile Bay on July 9th under a veil of darkness. To conceal evidence of the crime, the distinctive-looking schooner – made from white oak frames and southern yellow pine planking – was set ablaze and scuttled to the depths of the swampy Mobile River. In 2019 the charred hull of the Clotilda was officially discovered, reigniting interest and intrigue into its fascinating story and the legacy of those enslaved who came to America on board.