Celebrating Black History

Hidden History: Inside the wreck that could help find last US slave ship

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) – The remains of what was thought to be the last known ship to bring slaves from Africa to America were discovered in the Mobile Delta.

News 5’s Bill Riales spoke with the man who found the ship, Ben Raines, an environmental and investigative reporter who believes this was the resting place of the Clotilda.

While waiting for the find to be verified, Raines says he definitely believed it is the Clotilda. Researchers later determined it was not, in fact, the Clotilda, but say this discovery could help them find it. 

In a story for AL.com, Raines said he took a shipwright and two archeologists to the site he discovered about two weeks prior to the report, when a cold north wind brought an extremely low tide, exposing the wood and metal indicative of the mid-1850’s, the year when the Clotilda was made. 

Raines believes there may be much more of the ship preserved in the mud. 

“You might still have all the inner construction down there which would include the pens where they had the captives, manacles–casks of different supplies.”

The Clotilda arrived in Mobile in 1860 with as many as 160 slaves aboard. But federal authorities caught wind of the illegal venture. The captain offloaded his cargo onto a riverboat and set the Clotilda ablaze and adrift. 

The Africans went into slavery in various locations, but after the Civil War, they were freed. A group asked one Mobile landowner, Timothy Meaher, for some land.  That group settled then settled in what they called “Africatown.”

While the discovery was determined not to be the Clotilda, it has researchers looking deeper into area along the Gulf Coast for the ship. 


Neighbors stunned by shooting in ‘safe,’ ‘quiet’ Eagles Watch subdivision

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH ) — The Eagles Watch subdivision on the city’s northwest side is home to dozens of families.

“It’s very quiet here,” said Irma Molina, who lives on Eagles Watch Drive.

The winding road is often touted as an oasis of safety, seemingly removed from the city’s crime crisis, according to Jeremy Layly, who lives down the street from Molina.

He walks his dogs through the neighborhood every night without worrying about what he’ll encounter in the dark.

On Thursday night, his walk led him toward flashing police lights and crime scene tape. 

Detectives were collecting evidence from the scene of a shooting in the 5000 block of Eagles Watch Drive, less than a quarter of a mile from Layly’s home.

“I’ve heard gunshots [before] but not in the neighborhood,” he told News 8. “That’s intense.”

Officers arrived around 4 p.m. after neighbors reported hearing gunshots. An unidentified man was pronounced dead at the scene.

No arrests had been made Thursday night. No suspect information was available.

The shooting appeared to be targeted and did not pose an immediate threat to public safety, police said.

“[Detectives are] working hard to solve these crimes and to prevent crimes,” said Michael Hewitt, a spokesperson for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD).

Molina, whose home was within the police perimeter, ducked under the yellow tape to speak with News 8.

She and her son still feel safe living on Eagles Creek Drive, she said, but she is wary of rising crime in other parts of the city.

“It is very dangerous lately,” Molina said in Spanish. “Many crimes have happened.”

Anybody with information about the shooting is urged to call Crime Stoppers at (317) 262-TIPS.