Thursday, September 28
Kamau B. A. Sadiki,
Board Member and Lead Instructor, Diving With a Purpose
“Whispers From the Waters: Connecting Ancestral Memory Through the History and Archaeology of the São José Paquete de Africa and the Clotilda Shipwrecks”
On December 27th, the slave ship São José Paquete de Africa crashed into the rocks off Clifton Beach in Cape Town, South Africa, 212 of more than 500 captured African lost their lives. In June 2015, the Slave Wrecks Project, a partnership between the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American Culture (NMAAHC), Izeko Museums of South Africa, George Washington University, and Diving With a Purpose (DWP), announced the discovery of the São José Paquete de Africa shipwreck. It represented the first shipwreck ever discovered that had captured Africans on board with the intent to enslave them. On July 9, 1860, the Clotilda sailed into the Mobile Bay, ending an illegal mission as the last vessel of enslavement to bring captured Africans into the USA to be enslaved. There were 110 imprisoned human souls from present day Benin in its cargo hold. In June 2018, the wreckage of the Clotilda was located in the Mobile River.
University of South Alabama Archaeology Museum
FREE Public Event!
Cohosts: USA Center for Archaeological Studies, USA Department of English, USA Department of Communication, African American Studies Program, and USA Anthropology Program
Made possible by the support of the
National Endowment for the Humanities
Kamau B.A. Sadiki participated in some of the underwater archaeological work on the wrecks of the São José Paquete de Africa and the Clotilda as a strategic partner with the Slave Wrecks Project, SEARCH Inc., and NMAAHC. This presentation will highlight the work of DWP, a non-profit organization of SCUBA divers whose primary mission is to bring back into memory the stories of shipwrecks involved in the commodification and enslavement of Black bodies. The intersectionality of transoceanic systems of enslavement and the making of the modern world through the histories and wrecking events of the São José Paquete de Africa and the Clotilda shipwrecks, two critically important ships of the 18th and 19th centuries, will be explored. Additionally, the meaning of memory and cultural heritage in the context of the Transatlantic Era of African Enslavement will be discussed. A few other significant enslavement shipwrecks of importance during this period will be highlighted as well.
The USA Archaeology Museum showcases artifacts from the Gulf Coast and covers over 12,000 years of prehistory and history. Artifacts are contextualized using a series of life-size scenic representations depicting archaeologists at work and glimpses into the ways of life of ancient Woodland cultures, mound-building Mississippian peoples, early French settlers, and an African American family after the Civil War.