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Articles by Nick Tabor

Nick Tabor is a freelance journalist living in New Orleans and the author of Africatown: America’s Last Slave Ship and the Community It Created, forthcoming from St. Martin’s Press.

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This story is adapted from the book AFRICATOWN, which was published this week by St. Martin’s Press. 

Four years ago, an announcement from the Alabama Gulf Coast shocked the world: The wreckage of the Clotilda, the last slave ship ever brought to the U.S., had been identified in the muddy depths of the Mobile Delta. The slavers had burned the ship after its 1860 voyage to erase evidence of their crimes, but those they took captive kept their memories alive in Africatown, a neighborhood at the edge of Mobile that they established after their emancipation. Those survivors included Cudjo Lewis, who lived to be nearly 100 — long enough to share his experiences with Zora Neale Hurston, who interviewed him for what became her book Barracoon.

Africatown is the only American community established by West Africans who survived the brutality of the Middle Passage, a distinction recognized by its inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. Descendants of the voyage still live in the neighborhood today, though its population is a fraction of what it once... Read more

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