USM research team helps find last slave ship “Clotilda”

USM research team helps find last slave ship “Clotilda”
A team of students and faculty from the School of Ocean Science and Engineering prepare to search for the wreck of the slave ship, "Clotilda" in 2018. (Source: Kim Miller)

MOBILE, AL (WDAM) - Historians can thank a research team from the University of Southern Mississippi for helping find the wreck of America’s last slave ship, known as “The Clotilda.”

The Alabama Historical Commission announced last week that the ship had been found in the Mobile River.

It was intentionally sunk there in 1860 after illegally transporting more than 100 slaves from West Africa.

The archaeology firm, Search Inc., discovered the ship with support from the National Geographic Society.

But its location had actually been mapped months earlier by a team of faculty and students from USM’s School of Ocean Science and Engineering.

“This was all done mostly by graduate students,” said Monty Graham, director of the School of Ocean Science and Engineering. “So, the work that they did, we gladly handed over the data over and then, they used it plus our analysis in pointing to that one spot and that’s where they started their effort.”

“There are New York Times articles being written that have (USM) prominently mentioned in there, and I think it’s more important for us that we go down in the books and any museum as being a major contributor to the location and identification of the ship,” Graham said.

Southern Miss had partnered with Alabama journalist Ben Raines in the initial search for the wreck.

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