Africatown: America’s Last Slave Ship and the Community It Created by Nick Tabor

Africatown: America’s Last Slave Ship and the Community It Created by Nick Tabor

Title:  Africatown: America’s Last Slave Ship and the Community It Created
Author: Nick Tabor
Publisher:  St. Martin's Press
Genre:  History, Nonfiction (Adult)
Format:  Kindle
No. of Pages:  374
Date of US Publication:  21 February, 2023
My Rating:  5 Stars

My Thoughts 

Deeply compelling and poignant, Africatown is history that I never even heard of until I read the synopsis of this book and knew that I needed to learn about this. 

The author so wanted to do right by this story that he moved outside of Mobile, as to have easier access for research and conversations, during his time on this book. The resulting story is a gripping one as well as being an important part of US history - as much for the horrifying wrongness of trafficking and  slavery as the story of the town’s founders and their creating a community, where some of their ancestors live to this day. 

Absolute recommendation. 

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for the DRC.

* personal note - How have I lived almost 50 years, being a fairly educated person, and never heard of Africatown and it’s founders? 

History is painful, but trying to whitewash it away like has been done for decades in US public schools is shameful. That we are still doing it today is morally reprehensible and criminal.


An evocative and epic story, Nick Tabor's Africatown charts the fraught history of America from those who were brought here as slaves but nevertheless established a home for themselves and their descendants, a community which often thrived despite persistent racism and environmental pollution.

In 1860, a ship called the 
Clotilda was smuggled through the Alabama Gulf Coast, carrying the last group of enslaved people ever brought to the U.S. from West Africa. Five years later, the shipmates were emancipated, but they had no way of getting back home. Instead they created their own community outside the city of Mobile, where they spoke Yoruba and appointed their own leaders, a story chronicled in Zora Neale Hurston’s Barracoon.

That community, Africatown, has endured to the present day, and many of the community residents are the shipmates’ direct descendants. After many decades of neglect and a Jim Crow legal system that targeted the area for industrialization, the community is struggling to survive. Many community members believe the pollution from the heavy industry surrounding their homes has caused a cancer epidemic among residents, and companies are eyeing even more land for development.

At the same time, after the discovery of the remains of the 
Clotilda in the riverbed nearby, a renewed effort is underway to create a living memorial to the community and the lives of the slaves who founded it.


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