The latest episode from NPR’s On the Media focuses on Africatown, the Alabama community founded by people kidnapped from Africa and brought to the United States aboard the ship that historians believe was the last ship to deliver Black “Cargo” into enslavement. Africatown has been in the media for much of this year, first for the brief period when people believed that place where the ship, the Clotilda, was scuttled in 1860 had been found. And then again with the publication of Zora Neale Hurston’s interview with the Clotilda’s last survivor, Cudjo Lewis: Barracoon.
Africatown and Montgomery County, Maryland, are seemingly worlds apart. Yet, listening to the episode, I find that our two communities share some common histories: environmental racism, Jim Crow, and historical erasure:
Every effort to preserve the past and celebrate the present seems to be met with an indifference so profound it borders on malice — host Brooke Gladstone.
Indifference bordering on malice: Lyttonsville. River Road. Tobytown. Scotland.