The old wooden ship hull didn’t look like much when researchers first saw it: just broken, waterlogged boards and a few pieces of rusted metal, all stuck in the muddy bottom of a bug-infested Alabama bayou where an alligator and poisonous water moccasins swam nearby.
Months later, after hundreds of hours of study and testing, historians say the wreck is the Clotilda, the last ship known to transport African captives to the American South for enslavement. The question now becomes what to do with the remnants of a ghostly vessel that’s a testament to the horror of human bondage.
Some have suggested raising the ship and putting it in a museum. Others want it to become the centerpiece of a national memorial to the slave trade. Leaving the remains in the Mobile River and marking the area reverently is another possibility.