The Nov. 29 episode of the CBS show “60 Minutes” will feature the schooner Clotilda and its final cargo of African-born captives illegally smuggled to America in 1860. The ship was scuttled upriver and many of its survivors later formed the Africatown community north of the Mobile city limits.
The Clotilda wreck was finally discovered and confirmed in the last few years. According to a July 16 press release from the Alabama Historical Commission (AHC), the state has appropriated $1 million to begin Phase 3 preservation efforts. The phase includes targeted artifact excavation with industrial dive efforts. An environmental study will look at the sediment surrounding the wreck, water movement and the species around the wreck. A structural assessment will appraise the wood’s deterioration and condition, then create a long-term preservation plan. Finally, an engineering study will evaluate site protection and riverbed integrity toward erecting an on-site memorial.
A May 2019 report described the wreck as “fragile.” Not only did its owners attempt to destroy it to conceal their human trafficking crimes, but local lore says the wreck was dynamited in the mid-20th century, either in a salvage attempt or to further destroy it.
Mobile County, the city of Mobile, AHC, the History Museum of Mobile and the Africatown Advisory Council will create and curate the Africatown Heritage House to tell the saga and showcase artifacts. On Nov. 10, the Alabama Power Foundation presented a grant to the history museum for developing “Clotilda: The Exhibition.”
Revolutionary study from local historian
Most tales and legends about Colonial America focus on the 13 official colonies closest to the Atlantic Seaboard. Lost in popular consideration is British West Florida, which stretched from the Mississippi River to Apalachicola, through parts of modern Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.
Mike Bunn, director of Historic Blakeley State Park, turns an eye toward this marginalized colonial coast in his work “Fourteenth Colony: The Forgotten Story of the Gulf South During America’s Revolutionary Era,” published by NewSouth Books. Though West Florida didn’t rebel against Britain, they were hardly as compliant as some assume.
This is the Daphne resident’s seventh turn as author or co-author. For more on the work, go to newsouthbooks.com.
MSO tickets moving fast
The Mobile Symphony Orchestra (MSO) is moving ahead with their pandemic-adjusted season and their next offering sounds like a departure in a year where nothing is run-of-the-mill. MSO Musical Director Scott Speck will lead what they are calling “an old-fashioned variety show” featuring various orchestral sections.
MSO offices say tickets start at $15 and are already selling fast.
Only 400 attendees are allowed in the 1,900-seat Saenger Theatre (6 S. Joachim St.) at a time and everyone is appropriately distanced.
Performances are Saturday, Dec. 12, 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Matinee is Sunday, Dec. 13, 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.
For more info, call 251-432-2010 or go to mobilesymphony.org.
Midtown gallery takes it off
Innova Arts (1803 Old Shell Road) pulled off the 11th edition of the “Nudes in November” show featuring artists like Ben Kaiser, Joanne Brandt, Bertice McPherson, Lynda Smith Touart, Amy Bark, David Trimmier, Stephanie Bromley, Vance Smith, Terry Lepre, Samantha Daniels, Suzanne Fox, H. Louis Tooker, Linda Clements and Hunter Cobb. Steven Dark’s stoneware urn won a People’s Choice Award for the exhibit.
Their Friday, Nov. 13 opening reception was the first public event for the gallery since January.
Those pieces are for sale, along with a shop full of Christmas gift possibilities in a wide range of tastes, all created by local artists. The gallery owners will enforce social distancing.
Hours are Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
ACAC uncages new show
The latest show at Alabama Contemporary Art Center (ACAC, 301 Conti St.) — “Degrees of Invisibility” by Ashley Hunt — takes a look at the quiet spread of mass-scale imprisonment around us while we remain mostly oblivious. It is curated by Jackie Hunt, executive director for the Coleman Center for the Arts in Kiln, Ala.
Hunt has spent 20 years immersed in the subject and her exhibits have been featured at P.S. 1 and the Museum of Modern Art, Project Row Houses, the Tate Modern and Documenta 12, as well as grassroots community centers, prisons and in activist campaigns.
It is on display through Jan. 16. ACAC is open Thursday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Masks are required and capacity is limited.
For more details, call 251-208-5671 or go to alabamacontemporary.org.
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