“Although slavery has long been a part of human history, American chattel slavery represents a case of human trauma incomparable in scope, duration, and consequence to any other incidence of human enslavement.”1See source. —Joy DeGruy, author, Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America’s Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing
The future vibrancy of Africatown is dependent on the health of its residents, a unique community descended from enslaved Africans illegally brought to Alabama aboard the slave ship Clotilda in 1860.3Learn more about Africatown’s history and community. Deborah G. Plant, a scholar, critic, and the editor of Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo,” introduces this feature with the story of Cudjo Lewis, one of Africatown’s founders. Renee Kemp-Rotan, lead editor of this report, then considers how the legacies of slavery and anti-Black violence and discrimination continue to affect the health outcomes of African Americans. She argues that the wellbeing of the Africatown community can be secured only by reckoning with the systemic racism and generational trauma bequeathed by this shameful history.