Last American Slave Ship Found in Alabama

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Researchers working in the murky waters of the northern Gulf Coast have located the wreck of the last ship known to bring enslaved people from Africa to the United States, historical officials said Wednesday.

Remains of the Gulf schooner Clotilda were identified and verified near Mobile after months of assessment, a statement by the Alabama Historical Commission said.

The wooden vessel was scuttled the year before the Civil War to hide evidence of its illegal trip and hasn’t been seen since.

“The discovery of the Clotilda is an extraordinary archaeological find,” said Lisa Demetropoulos Jones, executive director of the commission. She said the ship’s journey “represented one of the darkest eras of modern history,” and the wreck provides “tangible evidence of slavery.”

In 1860, the wooden ship illegally transported 110 people from what is now the west African nation of Benin to Mobile, Alabama. The Clotilda was then taken into delta waters north of the port and burned to avoid detection.

The captives were later freed and settled a community that’s still called Africatown USA, but no one knew the location of the Clotilda.

A descendant of one of the Africans who was brought to the South aboard the ship said she got chills when she learned its wreckage had been found.

“I think about the people who came before us who labored and fought and worked so hard,” said Joycelyn Davis, a sixth-generation granddaughter of African captive Charlie Lewis. She added, “I’m sure people had given up on finding it. It’s a wow factor.”

A Mobile-area news reporter discovered wooden remains of what was initially suspected to be the Clotilda, but the wreck turned out to be that of another ship. That publicity helped spark a renewed search last year that found another wreck now identified as the slave ship.

Officials didn’t say how much of the ship remains or what might become of its remnants. But the dimensions and construction of the wreck match those of the Clotilda, the commission said, as do building materials including locally sourced lumber and metal pieces made from pig iron. There are also signs of fire.

“We are cautious about placing names on shipwrecks that no longer bear a name or something like a bell with the ship’s name on it,” maritime archaeologist James Delgado said in a statement. “But the physical and forensic evidence powerfully suggests that this is?Clotilda.”

Officials said they are working on a plan to preserve the site where the ship was located.

The United States banned the importation of slaves in 1808, but smugglers kept traveling the Atlantic with wooden ships full of people in chains. Southern plantation owners demanded workers for their cotton fields.

With Southern resentment of federal control at a fever pitch, Alabama plantation owner Timothy Meaher made a bet that he could bring a shipload of Africans across the ocean, historian Natalie S. Robertson has said. The schooner Clotilda sailed from Mobile to western Africa, where it picked up captives and returned them to Alabama, evading authorities during a tortuous voyage.

“They were smuggling people as much for defiance as for sport,” Robertson said.

The Clotilda arrived in Mobile in 1860 and was quickly scuttled north of Mobile Bay. It was there that researchers worked to identify the shipwreck.

The Africans spent the next five years as slaves during the American Civil War, freed only after the South had lost. Unable to return home to Africa, about 30 of them used money earned working in fields, homes and vessels to purchase land from the Meaher family and settle in a community still known to this day as Africatown.

Officials said they plan to present a report on the findings at a community center in Africatown next week.

The Mueller Report Released as a Free Well-Formatted eBook

Boing Boing writes: “Back in April, Andrew Albanese from Publishers Weekly wrote a column deploring the abysmal formatting in the DoJ’s release of the Mueller Report, and publicly requesting that the Digital Public Library of America produce well-formatted ebook editions, which they have now done!”

The Digital Public Library of America adds:

The Report On The Investigation Into Russian Interference In The 2016 Presidential Election, or the Mueller Report, is now freely available in ebook format to read on your phone or tablet from DPLA’s website and the Open Bookshelf collection. The Mueller report was released to the public by the Department of Justice as a PDF last month, initially in a format that was not text-searchable. By making the report available as an ebook in our Open Bookshelf collection, anyone can download and read it for free, all in the SimplyE app – no library card or sign in required.

One of the primary objectives of DPLA’s ebooks work is to make the best openly-licensed e-content available to libraries and their patrons. For libraries offering New York Public Library’s SimplyE app, the Mueller Report can be easily integrated into the ebook offerings made available to their patrons. SimplyE and Open Bookshelf are freely available to anyone with an iOS or Android device.

Read the Mueller Report today

Download on the web: Visit, download it in one click, and read it with your computer’s e-reader like iBooks.

Read in SimplyE on your phone or tablet:

  1. Download the SimplyE app to your iOS or Android device.

  2. Use the library selector icon in the upper left corner, select Manage Accounts, then Add Library, and select Digital Public Library of America.

  3. Find the Mueller Report in the top row.

To learn more about Open Bookshelf and other DPLA ebooks offerings, visit DPLA’s Ebook work and the production of the Mueller Report ebook is supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

You can also download The Mueller Report in an epub version here.

Would you like to support the mission of Open Culture? Please consider making a donation to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your contributions will help us continue providing the best free cultural and educational materials to learners everywhere.

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Memorial Day 2019 – President Trump visiting Japan

Pacific War – US casualties and deaths 1941-1945

There were some 426,000 American casualties: 161,000 dead (including 111,914 in battle and 49,000 non-battle), 248,316 wounded, and 16,358 captured (not counting POWs who died).[162][163] Material losses were 188+ warships including 5 battleships, 11 aircraft carriers, 25 cruisers, 84 destroyers and destroyer escorts, and 63 submarines, plus 21,255 aircraft.

On 7 December 1941, 2,403 non-combatants (2,335 neutral military personnel and 68 civilians) were killed and 1,247 wounded during the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. Because the attack happened without a declaration of war or explicit warning, it was judged by the Tokyo Trials to be a war crime.[195][196]

During the Pacific War, Japanese soldiers killed millions of non-combatants, including prisoners of war, from surrounding nations.[197] At least 20 million Chinese died during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945).

Modernity Triumphs over Feudalism in India

Fascism with new clothing.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is shown here being showered with rose petals after his nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was declared winner in the country’s national elections. Source: Narendra Modi Facebook Page

By Ranjit Devraj
NEW DELHI, May 25 2019 (IPS)

“We worked for the poor and they voted us back to power,” was the explanation that Prime Minister Narendra Modi made to newly-elected legislators on Saturday, May 25, on the spectacular win scored by his nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in India’s just concluded general elections.

Modi’s statement appeared refreshingly simple when seen against the plethora of theories and analyses on the second electoral defeat in a row that the BJP delivered to the venerable Indian National Congress party that led India to independence from British colonial rule in 1947 and had become almost synonymous with governance in the years since.

“More than anything else the election was the victory of Modi’s political leadership,” Ajay Mehra, professor of politics and currently senior fellow at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library in New Delhi, tells IPS. “Since the assassination of Indira Gandhi in 1984 the leadership quotient has been missing in Indian politics.”

“Modi was astute enough to understand this vacuum while the Congress party singularly failed to restore the leadership quotient when it had the chance while in power during 2004—2014 under Manmohan Singh, who was more manager than political leader,” Mehra says.

Modi’s main opponent, Rahul Gandhi, the son, grandson and great-grandson of former Congress prime ministers did make a bid to fill the leadership vacuum in the run up to the elections but “it was all too little too late,” says Mehra.

According Mehra, Modi never lost an opportunity to project himself as a strong and powerful leader. And the greatest opportunity came in the form of a deadly suicide-bombing attack on an armed forces convoy in Kashmir on Feb. 14, that left 40 troops dead.

Modi, who could never be faulted for his sense of timing, waited until Feb 26, a date close to the general elections, to order Indian air force jets to carry out retaliatory bombing on a militant camp in Balakot, deep inside Pakistani territory.

The Balakot bombing added hugely to Modi’s image as a great nationalist leader ready to defend the country against internal and external threats without hesitation, says Mehra.

Throughout the long and arduous election campaign across the country that followed, Modi repeatedly harped on the Balakot bombing to audience tuned to the idea of Pakistan as a long-standing enemy country which armed and financed terrorist groups tasked with the objective of wresting Muslim-majority Kashmir from Indian control.

It appears that the Gandhi and Congress party leaders learned no lessons from the defeat in 2014 when Modi’s one-time occupation of being a tea-stall vendor in a railway station was made fun of and used as proof that he was incapable of running a large and complex country like India.

This time around Modi’s description of himself as a ‘chowkidar’ (or watchman) taking care of the country’s interests was converted by the Congress party into the slogan ‘Chowkidar chor hai’ (the watchman is a thief) in reference to accusation that a deal to buy Rafael fighter jets from France was tainted and rigged to favour crony capitalist interests.

But, like the tea vendor jibes, the chowkidar slogans backfired with the mass of desperately poor Indian voters identifying all the more with Modi than with the half-Italian Gandhi and his sister Priyanka, who lent a hand in the election campaigning and addressed political rallies.

The campaign focused on the Rafael deal also had the effect of turning the electoral battle into one that was not over issues like rising unemployment, deep agrarian distress and declining manufacture into a personality clash between Gandhi and Modi—one in which the callow Congress leader could only lose to his politically astute and seasoned opponent.

A former spokesperson for the BJP during his long political career, Modi understood the value of building a positive image for himself through carefully arranged political interviews to friendly journalists while scrupulously avoiding the glare of India’s unruly media.

In fact, the only press conference Modi ever gave as prime minister came at the end of his present tenure and that too after elections were safely over. And then he sat through it without uttering a single word but deflecting questions towards his trusted lieutenant and party boss, Amit Shah.

However, Modi was visible everywhere on social media, bear-hugging world leaders one day and sitting in a cave in the snow-clad Himalayas meditating in the saffron robes of Hindu monk the next.

While such images drew derision and mockery from India’s English-speaking elite, the aspirational crowds identified even more with one of them who had made good but was yet rooted in traditional, devoutly Hindu roots.

On Saturday, Modi was elected as leader of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), a coalition of right-leaning political parties that includes the BJP. Though the BJP won a majority of seats on its own, gaining 303 out of 542 sets while the Congress party secured just 52 seats. 

In his address to newly-elected parliamentarians of the NDA, Modi said the ‘pro-incumbency vote’ was the result of the faith that people reposed in him. He vowed to take the whole country along into the future, even his enemies. He’s revised his slogan from 2014 to include the latter part on faith: ‘Sab ka saath, sab ka vikas, sab ka vishwas’ or ‘With everyone, for everyone’s development, with everyone’s faith‘. It was regarded as his assurance that everyone, even his political opponents, could trust him.

Modi also warned the new legislators: “Do not resort to a VIP culture–the people don’t like it.”

According to Rajiv Lochan, political commentator and professor of history at Panjab University, Chandigarh, the Congress party lost mainly because it came to be associated with the worst side of traditional India.

“The Congress believes in castes, it believes in religious groups, it believes that Muslims are one single entity as are Hindus and Sikhs,” says Lochan, referring to the parties ‘vote bank’ calculations to take advantage of horizontal and vertical divisions in Indian society.

“The Congress party also represents the feudal aspect in which people are seen as supplicants. All the Congress policies in this election were designed with the presumption that people are supplicants while the scion who has no energy, no intelligence and no abilities is still the boss directing everyone.

“Think of the stories of tiger hunts by Indian princes in colonial times when a servitor would kill the tiger and insist that it was the prince who had done it,” Lochan tells IPS.

“In contrast,” he adds, “the BJP had a Narendra Modi who was full of infectious energy. He had the ability to energise his audience.”

According to Lochan the BJP also ran a “very modernist campaign that was predicated on promising to empower everyone irrespective of caste, religion and family even increasing its support among Muslims from 9 percent to 12 percent, according to the poll surveys.”

“On the whole, I would say, people voted out the bad of traditional India and voted in the good,” says Lochan.

The post Modernity Triumphs over Feudalism in India appeared first on Inter Press Service.