State, Tribal, and Local Plans & Grants
The Africatown Historic District was placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the National Park Service on December 4, 2012. As a nationally significant archaeological sight, the district provides a unique perspective on the cultural transition of enslaved people in the United States from African to African-American identities.
Africatown was founded by the survivors of the slave ship Clotilda. The ship carried the last group of Africans into slavery to the United States in 1860. Freed after the Civil War and unable to return to their homeland, the group established a community on the land they had been forced to work. They attempted to maintain as much of their African identity as possible by using their own language, maintaining customs, purchasing land collectively, electing their own judges and choosing Gumpa (Peter Lee), who had been a member of Dahomean royalty, as their leader,. In 1948 the neighborhood was incorporated into the City of Mobile and has retained a remarkable cohesiveness in regards to its identity and unique history. Today, a number of the area’s residents can trace their origins to the original group.
The National Register nomination was forwarded to the Park Service for final review and acceptance after its initial approval by the, Alabama State review board on September 27th, 2012. The nomination was prepared by Shaun Wilson working under contract with the Mobile Historic Development Commission with a grant provided by the National Park Service through the Alabama Historical Commission along with matching funds from the City of Mobile.
The people in the inset photo are all descendants of the Africans who arrived on the Chlotilde, from left to right: Lorna G. Woods (5th generation); Robert Lewis the great grandson of Cudjo Lewis; and Takeysa Triplett, daughter of Lorna G. Woods. Cudjo was the last survivor of the Africans brought here on the Chlotilde.
Woods: They survived and their descendants have continued to survive and thrive, here making their mark in this society.
Lewis: This is the place where the last slave ship came into the United States. This is our history.
Triplett: You have to know where you came from to know where you are going.