Tragic Life Story of the Recently Identified Last Victim of the Transatlantic Slave Trade

A university researcher has revealed the story of the last known survivor of the slave ships that took kidnapped West Africans to the United States.

Although slavery was only abolished throughout the United Staes in 1865, from 1808 onwards, Congress prohibited the importation of slaves into the country.

This did not mean that the horrific West African slave trade was brought to an end, Right up until the end of the Civil War unscrupulous slave traders smuggled men and women stolen from their homelands into the US.

LAST SURVIVING VICTIM OF SLAVE SHIPS IDENTIFIED

Hannah Durkin, a lecturer at Newcastle University in the UK has identified the last known surviving victim of the slave ships, a woman named Redoshi, who died in Alabama in 1937.

According to Durkin's research, Redoshi was kidnapped in what is now Benin at the age of 12, and forcibly transported to the US where she was sold as a slave.

REDOSHI WAS FORCED TO MARRY ABOARD THE SLAVE SHIP

According to the archives consulted by Durkin,  Redoshi was transported to Mobile Alabama in 1860 aboard the slave ship "Clotilde." Aboard the ship, Redoshi was forcibly wed to a fellow slave, identified as William or Billie.

Descendants of Clotilda survivors are the only descendants of slavery survivors in the US who can trace their ancestors back to a specific region in West Africa

THE LAST SLAVE SHIP TO CROSS THE ATLANTIC

Redoshi and William were part of the human "cargo" of 116 people transported by the "Clotilde," the last ship to ply the Atlantic as part of the vicious slave trade.

Redoshi and her husband were sold to the owner of the Bogue Chitto plantation in Alabama, Washington Smith, where she was renamed Sally Smith, and worked in as a slave until the abolition of slavery in 1865.

A LIFE IN SERVITUDE FAR FROM HER HOME

Although she was freed by the emancipation of slaves at the end of the Civil War. Redoshi, continued living and working on the Smith plantation.

She would come into contact with civil rights activist Amelia Boynton Robinson, who would document her life, including her fight to keep her West African traditions alive.

"Descendants of Clotilda survivors are the only descendants of slavery survivors in the US who can trace their ancestors back to a specific region in West Africa, so I'm really hoping this will enable more descendants of transatlantic slave trade survivors to trace their ancestry," said Durkin.

Durkin published her research in the journal Slavery & Abolition, and revealed Redoshi's lifestory and her suffering to the world - the last survivor born free, and dragged into slavery.

REMEMBERING THE BITTER LEGACY OF SLAVERY

In order to honor the millions of victims of slavery, the Department of Global Communications launched its Remember Slavery Programme and marked the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade with a series of events in New York on March 25, 2019.

The commemoration brought together dignitaries from the countries of origin of so many enslaved Africans, and human rights activists.

It is good to remember while recollecting the past, that slavery is a living trade that affects up to 70 million people around the world. 

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