Mobile, Ala. (AP) – Descendants of the last African people abducted into slavery and brought to America’s shores gathered over the weekend on the banks of an Alabama river to pay tribute to their ancestors.
The descendants of the 110 people aboard the Clotilda, the last known slave ship to bring enslaved African people to the United States, held a ceremony to mark the anniversary of the vessel’s arrival.
Dressed in white and walking slowly to the beat of an African drum, the descendants made their way to the banks of the Mobile River near Alabama’s coast. A wreath of white, yellow and red flowers was carried into the river by a kayaker and released into the waters.
In 1860, the Clotilda illegally transported 110 people from what is now the west African nation of Benin to Mobile, Alabama. The voyage happened decades after the law banning the importation of slaves had taken effect when a wealthy plantation owner made a bet he he could smuggle a shipload of enslaved people across the ocean.