Recently, Ahmir Thompson, a famous musician and the bandleader for the Jimmy Fallon Show, was a guest on Finding Your Roots. His ancestry was traced to the last American slave ship, The Cotillion or Cotilda. Can you imagine not knowing anything about your lineage and discover your great-great-great grandmother and grandfather were born in Africa and documented on a U.S. Census Record and a bill of sale for 140 slaves from the West Indies?
He cried, thanked his ancestors, and remembered civil rights leaders.
A white man, Timothy Meaher, took a bet he could defy the law of 1808 declaring slavery illegal in America. His ship burned off the shores of Mobile, Alabama in 1860, and the survivors founded Africatown. I already knew about The Cotillion. The history of this event and existence of Africatown affected me deeply as I researched the location where my first novel, Well of Rage, was set.
Many descendants from the last slave ship live in the area, but most of the land is still owned by whites.