A piece of the last Slave Ship to reach America - The "Clothilde" - Cudjo Lewis
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A piece of the Slave Ship Clothilde- The Clothilde landed with the last known cargo of slaves to reach America in 1860. In order to avoid federal authorities, the ship was immediately burned and sunk in Mobile harbor. A few pieces of the ship were excavated in the 1920's and this piece was presented to Cudjo Lewis (1835-1935), the last living survivor of the last cargo of African Slaves to reach America on the Clothilde. Brass plaque attached reads "A Piece of the Clothilde". Floorboard piece measures approximately 6"X6"X1.5" with a 4" wooden peg. Original Article from The Literary Digest Nov. 21, 1931 interviewing Cudjo Lewis included. Also included is an original C.1930 photograph of Cudjo Lewis' cabin. Letter of authenticity included.................... The Slave Ship Clothilde, Cudjo Lewis & Africatown- In front of the Union Missionary Baptist Church, in the Magazine/Plateau community about three miles north of Mobile, there is a bust of Cudjo Kazoola Lewis, the last survivor of a voyage on the slave ship, Clothilde, from the west coast of Africa in 1860. The monument is an enduring symbol of the community's pride in its African history and heritage, and is the focal point for annual celebrations of that heritage. Beneath the bust is a steel shaft sunk 100 feet into the earth, symbolizing the 100 years that this group of African Americans had inhabited Mobile County when the monument was dedicated in 1959. Cudjo Kazoola Lewis was born around 1835, a member of the Tarkbar tribe, which inhabited the interior region of the Gulf of Guinea on the west coast of Africa. The Tarkbars were an agricultural people raising hogs, goats, sheep, chickens and cows. They planted beans and yams, and gathered bananas and pineapples. Their main trade item was the oil from palm trees, which was traded to other tribes, eventually reaching the coast for export abroad. In the late 1850s, West Africa was at war with itself. Defeated tribes were often sold into slavery. In November of 1858, the Mobile Register noted, "The King of Dahomey was driving a brisk trade in slaves at from fifty to sixty dollars apiece." As secessionist fever spread through Alabama in the 1850s, there was talk of reopening the African slave trade, which had been outlawed since 1808. It was in this setting that wealthy Mobile shipper Timothy Meagher and shipyard owner William Foster planned the Trans-Atlantic voyage of the Clothilde for the purpose of bringing an illegal cargo of slaves back to Mobile. Clothilde set sail from Mobile on March 4, 1860, arriving at the port of Whydah on the west coast of Africa on May 15. Five weeks earlier, Cudjo Kazoola and dozens of fellow tribesmen had been captured by Dahomean warriors and marched to the port of Whydah where Kazoola and 114 others were sold to Captain Foster for one hundred dollars apiece.
- Chamblee, Georgia
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- Ethnic, Folk & Native American Art
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