Join us on Saturday, October 15 for Diving for the Clotilda: The Archaeology, History, and Legacy of the Last Known Slave Ship, a special virtual event where we’ll explore the wreck of the infamous slave ship discovered in 2019 in the Mobile River in Alabama. You’ll hear from the archaeologists exploring the shipwreck, the historians researching its history, and the descendants of the people who were brought over on the ship, as they work to preserve the Clotilda and ensure that its legacy and its stories are not forgotten.
Saturday, October 15 from 2 to 5 pm ET
Free, virtual event
In celebration of International Archaeology Day
Hosted by the Archaeological Institute of America
In Diving for the Clotilda: The Archaeology, History, and Legacy of the Last Known Slave Ship, we’ll explore the wreck of the infamous slave ship discovered in 2019 in the Mobile River in Alabama. You’ll hear from the archaeologists who dove into the Mobile River to explore, document, and study the wreck; the historians who highlighted the historical significance of the wreck and presented the narratives of the victims and the villains involved; and the descendants whose lives and stories connect the present with the past and are living testimonies of the African men, women, and children who were brought to the United States against their will and who hoped to one day return to their homes across the Atlantic.
In 1860, more than 50 years after the international slave trade was outlawed in the United States, the Clotilda, carrying over 100 captive Africans – men, women, and children – sailed up the Mobile River in Alabama under the cover of night. Knowing full well that what he was doing was illegal, the ship’s captain, after unloading his captives, burned and scuttled the ship. In 2019, almost 160 years later, the wreck was located. Since then, archaeologists and historians have been studying its contents – a snapshot of the ship at the moment of its chaotic destruction. But the legacy of the ship isn’t just the underwater shipwreck and the objects found on board. The enslaved Africans that arrived on the Clotilda and were later liberated by the Emancipation Proclamation founded their own community, Africatown, just a few miles north of Mobile.
2:00 – 2:05 Welcome
2:05 – 2:15 Panelist Introductions
2:20 – 2:35 A Brief History of the Clotilda
2:40 – 2:55 The Archaeology of the Clotilda
3:00 – 3:15 The Descendant Community
3:20 – 4:00 A Conversation with the Panelists
4:05 – 4:20 Current and Future Initiatives and Programs
4:25 – 4:55 Q&A
4:55 – 5:00 Concluding Remarks
The program features an incredible and exciting panel of experts who have been involved with the research and ongoing investigations of the Clotilda, and the archaeology of the descendant community.
Alexandra Jones, Ph.D., host and moderator for the event, is Assistant Professor of Practice in History and Anthropology at Goucher College. Her work focuses on African Diaspora Archaeology, Community Archaeology and archaeology outreach. She is the founder and chief executive officer of Archaeology in the Community.
James Delgado, Ph.D., is Senior Vice President at SEARCH–an archaeology firm that provides cultural heritage services worldwide—and among the world’s leading experts in maritime archaeology and cultural heritage. He is a public speaker, international delegate, documentary host, and major project spokesperson.
Darron Patterson is the President of the Clotilda Descendants Association. In addition to being President of the Association, Mr. Patterson was the first African American sportswriter at the Mobile Press Register and three-time Alabama Press Association award winner for “Best Story of the Year.”
Stacye Hathorn is the State Archaeologist at the Alabama Historical Commission.
Gabrielle Miller is a Program Specialist and Archaeologist for the Center for the Study of Global Slavery at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. Ms. Miller liaises with various departments across the NMAAHC as well as with national and international partners outside of the Smithsonian with a specific focus related to the Slave Wrecks Project.
Register for Diving for the Clotilda