Clotilda descendants commemorate 162nd anniversary of slave ship’s landing

Following ceremony, Africatown Plateau Pacers hold community walk through Plateau
Published: Jul. 9, 2022 at 10:15 PM CDT
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Clotilda descendants commemorated the 162nd anniversary of the harrowing voyage and landing of the last known slave ship.

They gathered at noon Saturday underneath the Cochrane-Africatown Bridge for the “Landing Ceremony” -- to not only remember the 110 people who made the voyage, but to lay a ceremonial wreath.

After enduring five years of slavery, their ancestors established Africatown.

Descendants wore white to pay homage to those brave men and women.

“They started a town that even Mr. Meaher told them they could name it what they wanted, and they wanted to call it a plateau area -- hills going up and down,” said Africatown descendant Lorna Gailswood, referring to Timothy Meaher, who financed the slave ship.

“They decided to name it Africatown like where they had came from,” she said.

“Proud of my heritage. I’d like to say even more so proud of the resilience and the legacy that they left behind,” said descendant Ronald Ellis Jr.

Another descendant said: “They made a way for themselves. They made a way for themselves in the community. They made a way. If they could do that, we could do that. If they could do that, we could come together as one people and make this thing work.”

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

Following the landing ceremony, the 1st Annual 5K Community Walk through Historic Plateau got underway with the Africatown Plateau Pacers taking the lead and organizing the event.

Proceeds from the walk will start a scholarship fund and help with school supplies for the community.

The pacers are more than 300 members strong and tell us their motto is “Health Is Wealth!”

The pacers honored community member Antoinette Singleton for her life-long efforts in encouraging people to exercise, making her an honorary member.

Rochelle Williams with the Africatown Plateau Pacers said: “We are known all over the United States. I have walkers in Maryland, Virginia, Georgia. I want to give a shoutout to those that are doing the virtual walk with us -- thank you for your support. And I am just so overwhelmed with joy because next year I’m hoping it’s going to be bigger and better.”


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