The Clotilda was a schooner owned by business man Timothy Meaher. In 1860, a bit was placed that slaves could be illegally smuggled into Alabama and put to work on his land. The voyage had multiple sponsors based on the south, and was commanded by Captain William Foster. It journeyed to Whydah, Dohomey in Africia where 124 slaves were selected and 110 were brought back to Mobile, Alabama. After the slaves were unloaded, the Clotilda was then burned as to destroy the evidence.
Or at least, the evidence was thought to be destroyed. The slaves owners did not take into account that the slaves were actually people who could account for their histories. Nor did they consider the written records that were kept of transactions in the 1800s. Or of the wreckage of the Clotilda actually being discovered which it was in 2019. All of this is brought together in the new documentary by National Geographic: Clotilda – Last American Slave Ship.
The National Geographic documentary KS the first time archeologists explor4 the sunken wreckage. It was also the first time that I had personally heard of this hidden ship and its sad legacy. The documentary was filmed in October 2021 with a dive team, historians, and the descendents of the ensures passages. It flows back and forth between these segments as it explores the reality of one of the nation’s darkest times.
The 44 minute documentary goes into what happened aboard the ship, what happened during their time as working slaves, and what happened during the post Civil War era. All pf this was really informative and I enjoyed seeing the pieces that they were able to save from the wreckage. My favorite part was seeing the descendents and watching them learn more about their ancestors. It was heart warming and emotional. Their families are an important part of our American history and it deserves to be known.
Clotilda – Last American Slave Ship provides an insight on a sadly forgotten and/or ignored part of our history. Below that murky water exists an important piece of our legacy. I’m curious to see what else they are able to uncover as they continue to research and examine the Clotilda. They may have tried to burn it down in 1860 but they were not successful. And sadly some may continue to not tell the truth in certain circumstances today but as long as there are those who continue to push forward and promote the truth, the horror of the Clotilda will not be forgotten.
Rating: 4 Stars