Category Archives: cudjo lewis

Uprising: When Black America Launched a Violent Rebellion Against One of the Most Oppressive Societies on Earth

Uprising: When Black America Launched a Violent Rebellion Against One of the Most Oppressive Societies on Earth

Last Friday marked the 46th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination. He was killed on April 4, 1968. Events honoring Dr. King were held in Memphis and other cities around the country, media outlets ran many stories about the days leading up to King’s assassination, his work in Memphis supporting the striking sanitation workers and its relevance to the contemporary debate over a living wage. Notably missing from these recollections of that period in American history are the momentous events that occurred in the days after King’s assassination and the legacy of the national response.


Juneteenth Mayoral Candidates Forum


Presents: Africatown Central District

Juneteenth Mayoral Candidates Forum

Wednesday, June 19th, 6pm-9pm

Horace Mann Building
2410 East Cherry Street


For more information contact Viche Thomas at: or call 206-349-4362

Co-sponsored and supported by:
Umoja P.E.A.C.E. Center,Good Hair Salon, La Amistad School,Africatown-Central District Preservation & Development Alliance,Uovement Clothing,Brothas Buildin,More 4 Mann Coalition, Mothers Outreach Movement,Ijo Arts,Seattle Hip Hop Youth Council, Outside Thinc Agency,Fresh Coast Society,Mint Factory Clothing,West Africoast Media,Al-Noor Academy of Arts and Science and more….
Thomas,africatown,central district,seattle times,central district news,

Mobile looking to create historic districts in two black communities


MOBILE, Ala. — The city of Mobile wants to create two new historic districts in black communities near downtown Mobile.

A city-paid consultant will survey the Africatown and Oakdale areas.

Africatown, located near the Plateau community in north Mobile, is the neighborhood founded by many of the Africans who arrived on the last slave ship to reach America.

The Oakdale community includes about 1,300 buildings in south Mobile, south of Virginia Street and west of Interstate 10.

Mobile Mayor Sam Jones said he’s glad to see more black neighborhoods get recognition from the city. Africatown in particular, he said, could use its past to become a major tourist draw.

“There’s a lot of history in those communities,” he said.

The council voted to hire Shaun Wilson to conduct the surveys. He will walk through the neighborhoods, taking pictures and assessing the historical significance of every building in them, said Keri Coumanis, assistant director of the Mobile Historic Development Commission.

Source: read more about Africatown

Africatown in China

Africatown in China

Reprinted from:

A few weeks ago I came across an interesting article in a Belgian magazine that described Africans trying their luck in China, more specifically this became: Africatown in Guangzhou. Reading it, I mostly enjoyed the change of perspective: the last few years China is investing heavily in many African countries – and this is changing the landscape of development aid and trade with the African continent and the rest of the world, most notably Europe.* It was good to read a different side of this story: the increasing connections between Africa and China are also creating opportunities for Africans to go to China and make their fortune out of this increased trade.

Tonight, the Dutch television programme Tegenlicht expanded on this article and gave a more inside view of the motivations of these people from Nigeria and many other countries to head to China (sometimes after spending time in other Asian countries such as Japan and Taiwan) and make a living for themselves there. Again, an interesting view just like the article provided.

But what the documentary added to this view of Africans coming to China, in this case specifically to Guangzhou in the Southeast, was a perspective on migration – and the benefits that this offers our society. Ian Goldin explained how all places have developed as a result of migration. One of my favourite parts of the documentary was where he gave examples of how – throughout history – in every society migrants play an essential part in economic development, new innovations and realising new ideas. As he said: “all great leaps in economic development are the result of migration.”. These major effects of migration are something that we don’t hear about enough.

Tegenlicht continued with a glimpse of the future: with the active workforce in Europe actually declining, Asia is the next place that offers a large – and for the moment – increasing workforce. In fact, China is currently home to one of the largest migration in history, where the countryside of China is mass migrating to the major cities, mostly to the East coast of China. However, Goldin also shows that this development is flattening off, which will leave even China with a labour scarcity in future. What will be the consequences of this? And how can our economic system and our society respond to these changes? In Goldin’s view, the EU has been successful in one thing: opening its borders which did not create mass migration but did create economic freedom, an essential part of a healthy economy.

The Tegenlicht screening can be seen online, where you can also find additional reading and references to other sources.

Ghanaian Pioneers: Cudjo Lewis of AfricaTown, USA

Cudjo Lewis (1835 – 1935) Last full-blooded African to come to America on the Clotilde in 1859 Courtesy: University of South Alabama Archives, Erik Overbey Collection

AfricaTown, USA

AfricaTown is the site in Mobile, Alabama, along the Gulf Coast where the last cargo of Africans landed in 1860. Their landing marked the last recorded attempt to import Africans to the United States for the purpose of slavery.

The history of AfricaTown, USA, originated in Ghana, West Africa, near the present city of Tamale in 1859. The tribes of Africa were engaged in civil war, and the prevailing tribes sold the members of the conquered tribes into slavery. The village of the Tarkbar tribe near the city of Tamale was raided by Dahomey warriors, and the survivors of the raid were taken to Whydah, now the People’s Republic of Benin, and put up for sale. The captured tribesmen were sold for $100 each at Whydah. They were taken to the United States on board the schooner Clotilde, under the command of Maine Capt. William Foster. Foster had been hired by Capt. Timothy Meaher, a wealthy Mobile shipper and shipyard owner, who had built the schooner Clotilde in Mobile in 1856.

As secessionist fever was spreading through Alabama in the 1850s, there was much talk of reopening the African slave trade, which had been outlawed since 1808. It was in this setting that Meaher and Foster planned the Trans-Atlantic voyage of the Clotilde for the purpose of bringing an illegal cargo of slaves back to Mobile.

By the time the Clotilde arrived in Mobile, federal authorities, having heard about the illegal scheme, were on the lookout for it. Captain Foster entered Mobile Harbor on the night of July 9, 1860. He transferred his slave cargo to a riverboat and sent them up into the canebrake to hide them. He then burned his schooner and sunk it.

The Africans were distributed to those having an interest in the Clotilde expedition, with 32 settling on the Meaher property at Magazine Point, three miles north of Mobile. This formed the nucleus of what came to be known, and still is known, as AfricaTown. Cudjoe Lewis was among that group.

In a federal court case in 1861, US v. Byrnes Meaher, Timonthy Meaher, and John Dabey, the three were charged with importing 103 natives of Africa for the purpose of slavery in the United States on the schooner Clotilde. The case was dismissed because the Federal Court could not prove the involvement of Timothy Meaher in this plot, but there was a strong implication that the case was dismissed because of the beginning of the Civil War.

After the Civil War, the original group of intended slaves was joined by a number of their fellow tribesmen. For decades they continued speaking their native tongue, had disputes arbitrated by their tribal chieftain, Charlie Poteete, and had their illnesses treated by the African doctor, Jabez. Up until World War II, AfricaTown remained a rather distinct community in Mobile County.

AfricaTown is unique in that it represents a group of Africans who were forcefully removed from their homeland, sold into slavery, and then formed their own, largely self-governing community, all the while maintaining a strong sense of African cultural heritage. This sense of heritage and sense of community continues to thrive today, more than 140 years after the landing of the Clotilde in Mobile Bay.

Cudjo Lewis (Kazoola), the last living descendant of AfricaTown, left us his account of the war between the tribes in West Africa, the selling of Africans to be brought to Mobile on the Clotilde, and their voyage to AfricaTown.

When the original group of settlers dwindled because due to death, the remaining AfricaTowners would gather on Sundays after church at one of their homes to discuss the group’s welfare. Of the remaining number, Lewis was the best known, perhaps because he lived the longest (d. 1934) and was the most ebullient and talkative of all, giving interviews to the many writers who focused their work on AfricaTown during the early 1900s.

The AfricaTown Community Mobilization Project was formed in February 1997 with the purpose of establishing an AfricaTown Historical District, and encouraging the historical restoration and development of the site.

The Local Legacy project includes 16 pages of text, 11 color photographs, a map of the AfricaTown district, newspaper articles, information on the AfricaTown Mobilization Project, and a videotape, “AfricaTown, USA,” made by a local news station.

Originally submitted by: Sonny Callahan, Representative (1st District).