McPherson-Mitchell Lecture Series

2019 McPherson-Mitchell Lecture

Dr. Sylviane Diouf

January 28, 2019

Dr. Sylviane Diouf, in her lecture "The Clotilda, African Town, and Beyond," discusses the 1859 smuggling of enslaved persons from the west coast of Africa to Mobile, Alabama.  This was fifty-one years after the African slave trade had been made illegal in the United States, and was the last known slave ship arriving in the United States from Africa.  Dr. Diouf tells the story of the voyage, the enslaved people, and their lives after emancipation.  This topic became very timely in 2018 when a newspaper reporter thought he had discovered the sunken hull of the Clotilda in the Mobile River.

Dr. Diouf is an independent historian of the African diaspora and author or editor of four non-fiction books, multiple book chapters and articles, and three children's books.  The book upon which she based her lecture, Dreams of Africa in Alabama: The Slave Ship Clotilda and the Story of the Last Africans Brought to America (Oxford University Press, 2007) won the 2007 Wesley-Logan Prize of the American Historical Association and the 2009 James F. Sulzby Award of the Alabama Historical Association.

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