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Tue Mar 24, 2020, 09:09 PM

Last Survivor Of Transatlantic Slave Trade Discovered

Source: BBC News

The transatlantic slave trade might seem like something from a distant and barbaric era - but a historian has found evidence its last survivor was alive in living memory. Hannah Durkin, at the University of Newcastle, had previously identified the last living person from Africa to have been captured and sold into slavery in the United States as a woman called Redoshi Smith, who died in 1937.

But she has now discovered another former slave, Matilda McCrear, who died in Selma, Alabama, in January 1940, aged 83, making her the last known living link among those slaves abducted from Africa. Her 83-year-old grandson, Johnny Crear, had no idea about his grandmother's historic story. In the 1960s, he had witnessed violence against civil rights marchers in Selma, where protesters had been addressed by Dr Martin Luther King.

On discovering his grandmother had been enslaved, he told BBC News: "I had a lot of mixed emotions. "I thought if she hadn't undergone what had happened, I wouldn't be here. "But that was followed by anger." Matilda had been captured by slave traders in West Africa at the age of two, arriving in Alabama in 1860 on board one of the last transatlantic slave ships. With her mother Grace, and sister Sallie, Matilda had been bought by a wealthy plantation owner called Memorable Creagh.

Dr Durkin says there must have been a dreadful sense of separation, loss and disorientation for these families. Matilda's mother had lost the father of her children and two other sons left behind in Africa. And in the US she had been powerless to stop two daughters being taken from her, sold to another owner and never seen again...

Read more: https://www.bbc.com/news/education-52010859



Family members Matilda, Grace, and Sallie tried to escape the plantation soon after they arrived but they were recaptured. In 1865 the abolition of slavery brought emancipation but Matilda's family still worked the land, trapped in poverty as share-croppers. It seems Grace did not ever learn much English.

Dr Durkin said "But Matilda's story is particularly remarkable because she resisted what was expected of a black woman in the US South in the years after emancipation. "She didn't get married. "Instead, she had a decades-long common-law marriage with a white German-born man, with whom she had 14 children."...Read More - https://www.bbc.com/news/education-52010859

- Newcastle University Article,
https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/0144039X.2020.1741833?journalCodefsla20

- Smithsonian Magazine, 'Clotilda, Last Known Slave Ship To Arrive In The US Found'
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/clotilda-last-known-slave-ship-arrive-us-found-180972177/



- Matilda McCrear, the last survivor of the transatlantic slave trade lived until 1940.



- Johnny Crear, a witness to 1960s civil rights protests, did not know about his grandmother's life story.


- Newcastle University: Uncovering The Hidden Lives of Last Clotilda Survivor Matilda McCrear and Her Family

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/0144039X.2020.1741833?journalCodefsla20

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Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Tue Mar 24, 2020, 10:06 PM

1. K&R

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Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Tue Mar 24, 2020, 10:18 PM

2. Amazing. There's so much hidden history out there, especially with regard to African Americans. nt

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Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Tue Mar 24, 2020, 10:29 PM

3. What a story- and still so close to our present times. It's so important to keep this history alive

Even as World War II recedes into the past, there are those who would repeat the behaviors and beliefs that caused it. Their ignorance and arrogance is inexcusable.

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Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Tue Mar 24, 2020, 10:34 PM

4. In reading the article, Mathilda was a non conformist

"But Matilda's story is particularly remarkable because she resisted what was expected of a black woman in the US South in the years after emancipation," Dr Durkin says.

"She didn't get married.

"Instead, she had a decades-long common-law marriage with a white German-born man, with whom she had 14 children."

And Matilda changed her surname from Creagh, the slave owner's, to McCrear.

She was remarkably strong willed, Dr Durkin says.


---
Love it!

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Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Tue Mar 24, 2020, 10:43 PM

5. Just an incredible story about an incredible woman!

This line speaks volumes about our society. This is the real shame.
"The shame was placed on the people who were enslaved, rather than the slavers."

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Response to FM123 (Reply #5)

Tue Mar 24, 2020, 11:08 PM

6. That comment stood out to me as well, unfair and tragic.

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Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Wed Mar 25, 2020, 12:06 AM

7. There's another book out, called "Barracoon" by Zora Neal Hurston

In the 1930s, she spent extensive time interviewing a man named Cudjo Lewis, who had come over on the Clotilda. He was captured at age 19, so he was able to recount a lot of what happened to him in Africa prior to being captured and forced into slavery.

The book is a somewhat ragged read, but a fascinating bit of history. Hint: You will not sleep well at night after reading the parts about his native land before capture.

Highly recommend the book. NPR did a segment on it.
https://www.npr.org/2018/05/08/608205763/barracoon-brings-a-lost-slave-story-to-light

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Response to jmbar2 (Reply #7)

Wed Mar 25, 2020, 12:54 AM

8. I've read some about Hurston's book & Cudjo Lewis. Tx for posting.

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