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Forced Marriage as a 12-Year-Old Girl: The Life of America's Last Slave Ship Survivor

April 4, 2019 in History

By Becky Little

Like many African people forced into American slavery, Redoshi was only a child when slave traders chained her to their boat. Kidnapped at age 12 in what is now Benin, she became a prisoner on the Clotilda, .

“The only other documents we have of African women’s experiences of transatlantic slavery are fleeting allusions that were typically recorded by slave owners, so it is incredible to be able to tell Redoshi’s life story,” Durkin said in a Newcastle press release. “Rarely do we get to hear the story of an individual woman, let alone see what she looked like, how she dressed and where she lived.”

Sylviane A. Diouf, a visiting professor at Brown University’s Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice, says that Redoshi’s “story is valuable in and of itself,” but cautions that we shouldn’t be overly focused on which survivor was “the last” one.
“There were lots of very young people on the Clotilda and some may have died even later than she,” says Diouf, who is also author of Dreams of Africa in Alabama: The Slave Ship Clotilda and the Story of the Last Africans Brought to America.

“The importance is not whether she was the last one, or Cudjo was the last one… To have your story written about, that is important.”

READ MORE: A Slave Ship Survivor Gave an Interview in the 1930s. It Just Surfaced

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