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Dreams of Africa in Alabama

 

2009 James F. Sulzby Award of the Alabama Historical Association
2008 Finalist Hurston/​Wright Legacy Award
2007 Wesley-Logan Prize of the American Historical Association
 

 

 

In the summer of 1860 more than fifty years after the United States legally abolished the international slave trade, 110 children, teenagers, and young adults from Benin and Nigeria were brought ashore in Alabama under cover of night. They were the last recorded group of Africans deported to the United States. Timothy Meaher, an established Mobile businessman, sent the slave ship, the Clotildato Ouidah in the Bight of Benin, on a bet that he could "bring a shipful of niggers right into Mobile Bay under the officers' noses." He won the bet.

This book reconstructs -with never published photographs and documents- the lives of the young people in West Africa, recounts their capture and passage in the slave pen in Ouidah and their dreadful voyage, and describes their experience of slavery and freedom alongside American-born men and women. 

For the first time, the personal and detailed testimonies of the slavers, and those of the deported Africans are gathered together to tell the best-documented but also the most forgotten story of the slave trade to the Western Hemisphere.

After emancipation, the group, under the leadership of Gumpa -a nobleman from Dahomey- reunited from various plantations, bought land, and founded their own settlement, known as African Town. They ruled it according to their customary laws, spoke their own regional language and, when giving interviews, insisted that writers use their African names so that their families would know that they were still alive. 

The last survivor of the Clotilda died in 1935, but African Town (now called Africatown)is still home to the descendants of the men and women who dreamed of Africa in Alabama.

The publication of Dreams of Africa in Alabama marked the 200th anniversary of the official, if not actual, abolition of the American and British international slave trades.
 
 
 
 
 

Abache/Clara Turner and Cudjo Lewis, 1912
 

Oluale/Charlie Lewis, 1912
 

Zuma and her grandchildren, 1912
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"I'm just trying to make a way out of no way, for my people" -Modejeska Monteith Simpkins

 

AFRICAN AMERICA IS AT WAR

THERE IS A RACE WAR ON AFRICAN AMERICA

THERE IS A RACE WAR ON AFRICAN AMERICANS

THERE IS A RACE WAR ON BLACK PEOPLE IN AMERICA

AMERICA'S RACISTS HAVE INFILTRATED AMERICAN POLICE FORCES TO WAGE A RACE WAR AGAINST BLACK PEOPLE IN AMERICA

THE BLACK RACE IS AT WAR

FIRST WORLD WAR:  THE APPROXIMATELY 6,000 YEAR WORLD WAR ON AFRICA AND THE BLACK RACE

Last edited by sunnubian
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