Cover Image: Africatown


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Member Reviews

I was fascinated by this story because I live near Africatown and I wanted to read all of the facts.  Very well written. 
Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press and to NetGalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.
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Nick Tabor's Africatown: America's Last Slave Ship and the Community It Created is a fascinating read. Five stars.
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Africatown by Nick Tabor is more than just your classic history book.  It is a book about people’s lives that have been changed through the course of time; through slavery, emancipation, racism, environmental racism, poverty and gentrification all while these people remain members of a community desired to be remembered.  It is an incredibly eye-opening book about the Clotilda, parts of Mobile, Alabama, and the people who have come to reside there, those whose lives continue to be affected daily.

Yes, I am a Canadian, so why am I learning history about the United States?  Because I am a strong believer in if we don't learn from our past, history will repeat itself.  Equality is a goal of mine for the world, so why would I not read a non-fiction book to further back up some of what I read about through fictional characters?

There is a lot of history in Tabor's book, starting back in 1859 to present, but it is portrayed in such a way that it is not just providing facts to the reader.  With all that history, there is equally as much humanity and as much heart; it is more about a community and its people than simply stating facts in text.  It's amazing how much history is in this area of the south with the Civil War, slavery and the cotton industry - I can't imagine the hours of digging and questioning that went into researching and creating this book.  It just blows my mind.

I am pleased that this book is additionally available in an audiobook format for people who need that option.  It is out there.  It's available.  And it is beyond well done.

This book is for those who seek to find solutions to racial injustice. It is for a wider understanding of the South represented in books like To Kill A Mockingbird and the slavery represented more recently in Hester.  For people who believe in pollution and cancer clusters, like in the case of Hinkley, California, as shown in the movie Erin Brockovich.  This is a book I look forward to rereading in the future.

Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for the complimentary copy to read and review.
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Africatown: America’s Last Slave Ship and the Community It Created by Nick Tabor is a well documented, well-researched book giving the history of the Clotilda, the last slave ship and the human cargo of 110 men, women, and children it brought from Africa to America in 1860, long after the trans-Atlantic slave trade had been banned and just before the start of the Civil War. It covers a lot of history from the capture and kidnapping of Kussola later known as Cudjo Lewis, through the years of slavery, emancipation and the decision of several of the ship mates to purchase land and create their own community first called African Town later Africatown, right up to the present and the descendants’ efforts to make Africatown a national historical site as well as their fight against the environmental racism that eventually surrounded the town.

Tabor uses both primary and secondary sources to tell the story including Zora Neale Hurston’s book Barracoon and is very careful to identify what is actually known and what is speculation. With this amount of history, there seemed the possibility, like too many books of history, to become overly pedantic or devolve into a dry information dump but Tabor manages to avoid either, making this a very interesting, highly readable and, given the political atmosphere today, a very important book.

Thanks to Netgalley and St Martin’s Presses  for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review
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This book is an absolute must-read.  It traces the impact of slavery and creates an incredible through line about impacts today in this town near Mobile, Alabama.  There has been a lot in the news in the past few years about finding the last slave ship called Clotilda that sank off the coast of Alabama.  What is critically important about his finding is that this ship and the Meader family illegally captured slaves to bring over after slavery was outlawed.  Through this book, we  hear the perspectives and history of people captured in Africa and brings us through their stories and their descendants'' stories for example from Zora Neale Huston's book "Barracoon: The Story of the Last "Black Cargo" (which publishers did not want because of her use of dialect and unfortunately may have been somewhat plagiarized from another author's writing).  This book takes us through the aftermath of slavery from Jim Crow Laws, tenant farmers, poverty and industrial pollution. The latter chapters focus on environmental justice and activism  to address the unfair exposure of Africatown to harms from hazardous pollution and that exposure to environmental harms is inequitably distributed in black and brown communities overall.  This book is meticulously researched and goes more in depth than the documentary "Descendent" and also other works on the Clotilda.  This book is a critically important read to understand how systemic racism still exists in our society.

Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for an ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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3.5 stars, rounded up to acknowledge the huge learning experience! This is a good, interesting, complete coverage of the settlement/community known as Africatown that is near Mobile AL & founded by those that were brought to that area in 1860 to be sold as slaves. It begins in that area of AL, talking about those that already lived there & the economy/atmosphere of the area, then the story of the Clotilda, & the book covers to present day. The 1st part of the book is mostly about the shipmates (those captured Africans) & the later part of the book is about that area to the present day & the community's attempt at historical preservation. I did learn a lot in reading this, and it was interesting throughout. It's easy to recommend this book to anyone interested in American history.
I received an e-ARC of the book from the publisher St. Martin's Press via NetGalley in return for reading it & offering my own fair/honest review.
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A well researched book about the last slave ship, Clotilda, the slaves that were on it and the home they eventually built in a place called Africatown. This book really gave me a good understanding of the Blacks plight from Africa, slavery, freedom, reconstruction and right through 2022. While I don't think what happened to the people of Africatown was unique within the Unites States, it told a sorrowful way Blacks were treated through this example.
I recommend this book.
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Africatown is the rare example of an epic book which gets everything right. Nick Tabor has written a book which follows the last group of slaves every brought into the United States in 1860. Tabor follows the lives of these people and then looks at the community they created up until the present day. There is so much that can go wrong when you mix history, politics, and generational conflict. Often, I find these books become too unwieldy. The politics will be too one-sided, the history will be superficial, and the dizzying amount of names make it impossible for anyone to stand out. Thank you, Nick Tabor, for making me look dumb because this book is fantastic in every aspect.

The history portion of the book dealing with the Clotilda, the Civil War, and the Jim Crow era are expertly done. The reader learns about the origins of the slave trade in West Africa, the emancipation of the slaves, and how they tried to build new lives post-Civil War. Tabor creates a narrative which is short by comparison to other books on slavery but is just as effective, if not more so. If the story of Cudjo Lewis doesn't effect you then it's time for therapy. 

Somehow, this book then slips into current state politics and does not lose steam. I generally hate reading about contemporary politics because you end up hearing a very one sided argument. While Tabor clearly has a point of view, he never fails to point out the valid concerns of the counter argument. This is sometimes just a single line in a much larger section, but it goes a long way in the reader trusting that the author did his homework and is being realistic and fair. 

Quite simply, this is a fantastic book that everyone should read.

(This book was provided as an advance copy by Netgalley and St. Martin's Press.)
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This is the perfect book to read during Black History Month. To be honest, I had only a very vague awareness of the ship Clotilda. After reading Africatown and learning its history I have added several more books to my TBR list.  
America had ended slavery but that didn't stop a businessman from Mobile, Alabama from kidnapping 110 Africans and smuggling them into Alabama. Their story comes alive with the writing skills of Nick Tabor. Their survival, their drive to build a new life for themselves and their descendants is both heartbreaking and inspiring. Taking the reader from 1860 through Jim Crow and into the present this is a must read and I have added it to my short list of my best reads for 2023. 
My thanks to the publisher St. Martin's and to NetGalley for giving me an advance copy in exchange for my honest review.
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Well written and researched book about a story that has been overlooked on a national scale for a longtime. The story of Africatown and those who established this community is one of extreme bravery and survival. I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a comprehensive telling of the last slave ship to come to America and the amazing men and women who endured hell to be able to survive in a land far from home.
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5 years ago the bestie read "Barracoon" by Zora Neale Hurston and that was my introduction to the Clotilda and the story of the last slave ship. Fast forward to 2022 and the Ben Raines book "The Last Slave Ship" was released and my interest was intrigued even more. Then, this book popped up on NetGalley and I took it as a sign and jumped down the rabbit-hole [I have Barracoon to read next month and The Last Slave Ship, the month after]. As I absolutely love history and learning, I will never ever be sorry that I went down that rabbit-hole and started with this one. :-) 

This story just about knocked me out and I am 100% sure that I will need to reread this at some point; there is just SO. MUCH. INFORMATION. From the moment the Clotilda sets sail to modern day, this is just the craziest story ever that reads like fiction, but is very, very, true. I was hooked from page one and the story just got better and more crazy and SAD SAD SAD as the book went on. I am so glad I read this and look forward to the other books about this time, the amazing people that came unwillingly and then survived and the ship that carried them and actually am looking forward to revisiting this story again as I am sure there are things that I missed and I am 100% sure there is much more for this girl to learn. 

Thank you to NetGalley, Nick Tabor, and St. Martin's Press for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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This excellent, compulsively readable work of non-fiction tells the story of the community in Alabama that grew up following the voyage of the Clothilde, which is believed to be the last ship to transport enslaved people from Africa to the United States.  Africatown makes a convincing case for how systemic racism, beginning during the 19th century when the community of Plateau (as the community was originally called) was founded in the wake of the Civil War, continues to the present through the economic and environmental challenges seen in the Africatown neighborhood today.  Through deep research into primary and secondary sources, some of which have only recently been uncovered (like the remains of the ship itself), the book raises important questions about how we tell stories about our past, who gets to decide what’s preserved, and why.

Likes: The book does an wonderful job of situating the personal histories of many of the people within the broader contexts of local Mobile history, Alabama history, Southern history, and American history. The personalities of those involved in the story over the decades, including Cudjo, a freedman born in Africa, the celebrated author Zora Neale Hurston and her eccentric patron, Henry Williams, the resident of Plateau most determined to have its history recognized as “Africatown, USA,” and properly preserved, and many more, jump off the page. Where possible, the book prioritizes primary sources and the voices of community members over secondary sources, and the author carefully unpacks possible bias on the part of earlier historians, reporters, and writers from outside the community.  

Dislikes: really none. 

FYI: descriptions of the Middle Passage, kidnapping, slavery, violence, lynching, racial terrorism, racism.
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The Clotilda is having a bit of a moment, I think (and rightly so). Last year Ben Raines released his book The Last Slave Ship: The True Story of How the Clotilda Was Found, her Descendants, and an Extraordinary Reckoning, which became an NPR Best Book of 2022. In 2018 Zora Neale Hurston's work Baracoon: The Story of the Last "Black Cargo" was rereleased and this is where I picked up my research of the Clotilda in 2019. Previously, I had only read a few of the news articles that surfaced around the time the ship was found and reading the short Baracoon left me needing more... a lot more.

And here we have Africatown, the latest tome about the Clotilda to be published. For roughly the first half of the book, the author focuses on the history surround the Clotilda's journey to and from Africa and the slaves she picked up. If you have never read anything about the Clotilda before, this will provide a succinct depiction of its history, but I found the history presented in The Last Slave Ship much more engaging. 

Africatown has the unique perspective of showing the more recent history of the town through the lens of environmental racism. Along with Flint, this is perhaps one of the most glaring examples of racism in industrialization; factories contaminated the town for generations with pollution that affected the food its citizens ate and coated the town in ash that had to be regularly scrubbed from houses. The book also spends a great amount of time describing the citizens most recent history of fighting potential oil pipelines from running under their water source. Tank farms are also a large environmental concern in the area. This perspective has left me searching for more books on environmental racism, so Tabor did a great job piquing my interest to an aspect of Jim Crow I have yet to explore.

Finally, the end of Africatown discusses some miscellaneous topics that were very interesting to me, including the Meaher's descendants and their secrecy regarding anything to do with the Clotilda. Also discussed is the effort it would take to make Africatown a historical museum and removing blight. All in all, Africatown is an interesting book and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking to learn more about this one of a kind community.  

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for the advanced copy of this book. As always, opinions are my own.
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This book had a lot of information that was eye opening for me. I sort of expected this book to be similar to Baracoon, but this book is so much better, so much more in-depth, and so much more enlightening. The struggles the residents of Africatown have encountered didn’t dwindle with time. The political, industrial, and environmental aspects of the book were unexpected but are clearly at the heart of the lives of Africatown residents and supporters. I highly recommend this book!
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Africatown is an incredible book about a not so well known part of American history. Africatown is a history of the Clotilda, the last slave ship to bring slaves to the US, and her descendants. It is extremely well researched, thought provoking and, interesting. Not only is is a fantastic history book, but the discussion of politics was also excellent. This was a perfect book for Black History Month and for any time of the year. Everyone needs to read this important book.
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Have you heard about the slave ship Clotilda?  If you have, then you should delve into this book so that you can get a full picture of this ship and the finding of it.  If not, then you need to pick up this book because this is a missing piece of history that needs to be remembered and celebrated.  I highly enjoyed this book and learned a lot from it.
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Nick Tabor brought the poor souls on the Clotilda to life, especially Lewis and Cudjo, and evoked so much anger towards Meaher and pity for those unfortunate Africans that were uprooted and abused.  A dark time in our nation’s history for sure.  I avidly read about their experiences and was so glad that most were able to remain together.  They showed so much courage and determination in their quest to own their own land.  I cannot imagine their anger and frustration, forced to become slaves, the inhumane situations - hiding in the cane breaks - and being treated as less than human.  The research used to bring these characters to life was absolutely amazing.
The social injustice I was aware of but was surprised to read about the differences with the Republican and Democrat political views of what to do with them after they became free.  I never heard of the 40 acre land redistribution promise before, but I can’t help but think what a different country the US would be if it had been kept.  
I do admit that reading the rest of the book was not as easy or as interesting as the beginning.  Their health struggles are very real and I admire their attempts to bring attention to Africatown and those that banded together to create the best lives they could in spite of forces working against them.
Many thanks to Nick Tabor for teaching me important history, St. Martin’s Press, and NetGalley for providing me with an arc of this soon to be published book.
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This book is such a fitting read for black history month. Very informative and yet interesting. As a Canadian I feel like this was a bit of history I knew very little about and appreciate that I was able to be educated in such a interesting manner. 

Thank you Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for allowing me the opportunity to review this book.
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The research on this story was impeccable. I learned more than I had ever expected, but unfortunately the story reads as a history book, not like a story of the characters. If the book would have been written like a novel and followed the characters it could have been really, really good. 
Other than that, this is a great telling of the Clotilda being the last slave ship in 1860 and how the lives of the descendants are still alive today. Once again there were many crooked and evil men in power, kind of like no different than today. 
Received an ARC from St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for my unbiased review – This one comes in with 4 stars.
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This book was a comprehensive history about an important subject that everyone should know about but that, of course, due to the failed schooling in the US, was excluded entirely.
Nick Tabor brings us the last slave ship, the Clotide. Nick also walks us through the history of the town the descendants of that ship created, Africatown. However, it goes even deeper. From the landing in America to present day and stitching in all of the history between from Jim Crowe to Civil Rights to Reconstruction and more. Some sections/historical events are more in depth than others, but this was a calculated effort to highlight how this town has survived the unthinkable. 
From basically the beginning it was targeted in environmentally racist ways. You can see the fights the descendants have always fought to try and keep their town going strong. The goes right up to the present where citizens are still rallying for their ancestors and for their home to get to recognition it deserves. 
No review I make can do this book justice. Read it. And then keep reading about it and keep learning about all the stuff our education system denies us, because Black history is so important.
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