A team of archaeologists are in Mobile searching for the Clotilda, the last known slave ship brought to the United States. Wreckage from another ship, which was thought to be the Clotilda, was found earlier this year. The search group is pretty confident the Clotilda is on the west side of 12 mile island in the delta. The goal is simple, finding the Clotilda.
"To do a comprehensive survey of the Mobile river around 12 mile island where historians believe and where we would hope and we would think a number of wrecks rest including the Clotilda," said Dr. James Delgado with Search Incorporated.
So will they find the Clotilda?
"We're going to find it if everything comes together."
In other words Dr. Delgado says if the stars align and the wreckage is where its predicted to be, the remains should be there."The area is on the west side of 12 mile island. It's an un-surveyed area of the river that has not previously been looked at that we know already represents the graveyard of other ships and where history suggests Clotilda was sunk," he explained.
Community members have their hopes up. It's been a long time coming. Many of them have close ties, especially direct descendants like Jeremy Ellis say its more than a few pieces of the ship for them."Extremely important. My grandmother Beatrice Ellis, known as Mama B was once the president of Africatown in this community. This has been a dream of hers to get this story out," Ellis said.
Those conducting the search say it hits home for them too.
"In the case of clotilda, a crime that was committed a long time ago that has left a powerful and resilient community that remembers and honors those ancestors and has made its own unique contribution," said Delgado.
Marine archaeologists with the group have been on the water searching for the past few days. They're going to process what they've seen over the next 2 days then they'll dive in for a closer look. Delgado says they won't stop until the search is over.
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