Photo: Wikimedia Commons Kossola Oluale / Cudjo Lewis (1841-1935) Wikimedia Commons

Photo: Wikimedia Commons Bust of Cudjo Lewis Photo: Wikimedia Commons


Location: Mobile, Alabama

“Africatown, also known as AfricaTown USA and Plateau, is a historic community located three miles (5 km) north of downtown Mobile, Alabama. It was formed by West Africans who in 1860 were among the last known illegal shipment of slaves to the United States from Africa, after the Atlantic slave trade had been banned. These people created their own community in this area. They retained their West African customs and language for many years following the American Civil War. The last survivor of the group lived until 1935.” (map.roadtrippers)

“In 2018, the National Museum of African American History and Culture joined the effort to locate the Clotilda through the Slave Wrecks Project. The museum and SWP participated in support of the Alabama Historical Commission in archaeological work and in designing a way to involve the community of Africatown in the process of preserving the memory of the Clotilda and the legacy of slavery and freedom in Alabama. Many of the residents of Africatown are descendants of the Africans who were trafficked to Alabama on the Clotilda and have preserved the memory of its historyThe museum continues to work directly with the descendant community in Africatown and develops educational, preservation, and outreach opportunities with the community” (National Museum of African Art).

“Cudjo Lewis (1841-1935), whose African name was Kossola Oluale, grew up in what is now Benin and was sold into slavery in 1860 when he was 19 years old. Lewis was a member of the last known group of slaves to have been brought to the United States from Africa, more than fifty years after the North Atlantic slave trade had been abolished. Following his emancipation at the end of the Civil War, Lewis worked for the shipbuilder Timothy Meaher, the man who had smuggled him into the United States in the first place. In 1868, on land rented from Meaher, Lewis and a number of other former slaves built a self-governing community in Mobile, Alabama that they called African Town. Lewis was one of the leaders of African Town and grew to become one of its respected elders. He was esteemed for his integrity and was known for telling stories of his life in Africa and folktales that reinforced the values in which he believed so strongly” (


Diouf, Sylviane. Dreams of Africa in Alabama. The Story of the Lost Africans Brought to America. Oxford University, 2009.

“Photo Essay “Africans in America.” Oxford African American Studies Center. Oxford University Press, 2020 Access 10/14, 2020.