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Ben Raines speaks on Clotilda at Mobile Public Library

Published: Jun. 18, 2022 at 10:43 PM CDT
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - The Mobile Public Library’s Ben May Branch put the focus on the Clotilda in honor of Juneteenth.

The library’s downtown branch on Saturday welcomed award-winning author and charter captain Ben Raines, who discovered the Clotilda, the last known ship to bring slaves from Africa to the United States.

Raines was there to discuss his book, “The Last Slave Ship: The True Story of How Clotilda Was Found, Her Descendants, and an Extraordinary Reckoning.”

He shared how the Clotilda descendants formed Africatown based on African traditions and culture.

“And so, they saw this community that was being governed by African Americans -- well the Africans -- but there were no white people telling them what to do and that became a draw,” Raines said. “They wanted to go there and follow their example and that’s how Africatown grew.

“So, it started with 30 people shortly after the Civil War. By 1912, it was the fourth-biggest African American community in the nation, governed by African Americans,” he said.

The book is available for checkout at all Mobile library branches.

Three documentaries are set to be released about the Clotilda this fall, including “Descendant,” with which the Obamas are involved.

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