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Lorna Gail Woods, 70, is a fifth-generation resident of Africatown. Her great-great grandfather, Charles Lewis, was captured in West Africa and shipped to Alabama in 1860 aboard the Clotilda.
Africatown’s founders were ostracised for their African accents, says Vernetta Hynson, a descendant of Pollee Allen. "That’s why they were so determined that their children have a good education. My grandmother had nine children, and they all went to college. It was education, education, education.”
Navy veteran Gary Autrey, a Clotilda descendant, still lives in Lewis Quarters. Like much of Africatown, the small neighbourhood is surrounded by large industries—but it’s still home.
Patricia Frazier carries the flag of Benin, the modern nation once ruled by the kingdom of Dahomey, who sold more than a hundred captives to the captain of the Clotilda. "If they find that ship, I think it will make people more aware of our history," says Frazier. "Sometimes you need something tangible to spur those memories."