Atlanta Journal-Constitution Columnist Nedra Rhone and Her Daughter Layla’s Educational Road Trip
This week, Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Nedra Rhone and her 12-year-old daughter Layla are embarking on a journey to visit five Black history museums in five days. Rhone has a mission to educate her daughter about significant moments in American history and culture, much like her parents did for her during her own childhood in Chicago.
Fourth Stop: Mobile
Driving into Mobile, a port city, Rhone and Layla crossed the Mobile River where the sunken wreck of the Clotilda was discovered. The Clotilda was the last known ship to bring enslaved Africans to the United States.
The uncovering of the Clotilda’s wreck prompted the establishment of a museum in Mobile. However, this museum focuses on telling the stories of the community that was formed by the 110 enslaved Africans who took that final trip to American shores, rather than the ship itself. It offers an insightful documentation of the middle passage, which is the journey of the ship from Ouidah, Benin to Mobile, Alabama.
Scheduled to open on July 8, the museum will narrate Africatown’s history, beginning with the West African origins of the men, women, and children who were on the Clotilda.
Visitors to the museum will also learn about the Clotilda’s illegal journey across the Atlantic more than 50 years after the slave trade had been banned. The primary sources used in the exhibit will shed light on the voyage from Ouidah, Benin to Mobile, Alabama. The museum will present biographies of known individuals on the Clotilda, leading visitors to the heart of the exhibit – the founding of Africatown.
Joycelyn Davis, a resident and descendant of Africatown, expressed her hope that the sharing of the community’s history with a wider audience will help put an end to the shame that African Americans have experienced due to segregation, colorism, and ostracization in the past.
Other Points of Interest
Rhone and Layla also enjoyed a light lunch at Ginger & Spice, a raw and vegan café on Dauphin Street. This relatively new eatery offers a menu of smoothies, wraps, and other healthy options. They tried the Nefertiti, a refreshing mix of peach, mango, strawberry, pineapple, lemon, coconut water, and chia seeds.
Additionally, Rhone recommends exploring the Dora Franklin Finley African-American Heritage Trail in Mobile. This trail highlights forgotten chapters in history and celebrates the contributions of heroes from the city’s past.