British Researcher’s Work Uncovered Previously Unknown African Women Who Also Survived the Middle Passage Aboard the Clotilda Slave Ship

(Mobile, AL, February 1, 2021) — Dr. Hannah Durkin’s research uncovered two African women — Sally Smith (African name “Rodishi”) and Matilda McCrear — also brought to America aboard the Clotilda who outlived Cudjo Lewis, considered the slave ship’s last survivor after his death in 1935.

“Redoshi and Matlida were incredible women. They were among the few women survivors of the transatlantic slave trade whose stories were recorded,” says Dr. Durkin, Scholar in American Studies and Lecturer in Literature & Film at Newcastle University in the United Kingdom (England). She will be the keynote speaker for the 2021 Spirit of Our Ancestor’s Festival on Feb. 13, 2021, at 1 PM CST. 

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the festival will be held virtually as a webinar via Zoom. Her presentation will be in the form of an interview with British journalist Sean Coughlan, an award-winning education correspondent for BBC News in London.

The Festival’s theme, “Women of Worth,” celebrates Rodishi, Matilda and all the women who were among the 110 Africans brought to Mobile, Alabama, aboard the Clotilda slave ship in 1860.  They were ripped from their homes as captives by the King of Dahomey (in present-day Benin) and sold to Clotilda Capt. William Foster. They survived the horrors of the Middle Passage from Africa across the Atlantic, only to face the terrors of slavery when the ship arrived. And all of this because Mobile plantation owner Timothy Meaher bet that he could import Africans as cargo for slavery, flouting an 1808 federal law banning such piracy… .

Saturday, February 13, 2021 1:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)

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Sponsored by:

The Clotilda Descendants Association

Africatown CHESS (Clean, Healthy, Educated, Safe, Sustainable)

Mobile County Training School Alumni Association

Mobile County Commissioner Merceria Ludgood

Mobile City Council Members:

Fredrick D. Richardson, Jr. District 1 | Levon C. Manzie, District 2 | Gina Gregory, District 7

M.O.V.E. Gulf Coast Community Development Corporation/

The Africatown International Design Idea Competition

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