Excavation on possible slave ship could start this summer - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Excavation on possible slave ship could start this summer

Africtown discussion on the Clotilda Africtown discussion on the Clotilda

FOX10 News is committed to keeping you up to date on the latest developments concerning the discovery of what may be the slave ship "Clotilda" in the Mobile-Tensaw Delta.  

We have learned some new information on what happens next in identifying the ship and recovering it.  

The man who found that ship talked Thursday to a meeting of people who live in Africatown, the community founded many years ago by some of the slaves aboard the Clotilda.

The recent discovery of a ship that may be the Clotilda, the last ship to bring slaves to the United States, has brought national attention to Mobile and Africatown. 

Reporter Ben Raines discovered the ship and spoke Thursday morning to members of the Africatown Community Development Corporation. 

He also showed video of the discovery and talked about what's next.
Raines said, "It's entirely up to the state and the feds to figure out jurisdiction and, then, to engage our archeologists who will do the dig and work out plans and all that.  And I don't think any of those resolutions have happened yet, decisions have been made." 

Raines said he's heard archeologists talk about trying to excavate the ship this summer. 

And he said there are items that could be found on the ship that could confirm its the Clotilda, "such as the bell of the ship. There could be manacles in the hold.  There could be pens where the captives were housed."

People who live in Africatown are hopeful about what the discovery could mean for the area's future.
Carla Varner said, "I would like to see it become a tourist area. We have so much in Mobile."

Cleon Jones said, "Something that we should have had long ago, just like Charleston and other areas who have taken their history and made a tourist mecca.  We now have that chance to do that."
And there's another new development for the area.

A representative from the City of Mobile spoke at the meeting and said an announcement is expected in about a month that BP Restore money can be used to fund an Africatown Welcome Center.

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