In episode 65 of the “Impact Agent Podcast,” Jason sits down with Chenele Chapman and Valena McCants of the Plateau Magazine Point Community Redevelopment Corporation. As they talk, Chenele and Ms. McCants shed some light on this often discredited period of Mobile's history. Their account outlines the birth and death of a town, and why our entire bay area community should rally behind the AfricaTown revitalization project.
This story dates back to 1859 when the last known US slave ship, The Clotilda, slid into Mobile Bay. Though this ship’s purpose and recently discovered burning wreckage is a dark spot in the history Mobile, something inspirational rose from its ashes. That something is the real-life story of Cudjo Kazoola Lewis and the community helped to build. After years of darkness, a great deal of suffering was alleviated with the end of the Civil War. Lewis moved back to the very spot where he first stepped on U.S. soil: an area known as Plateau. Eventually, other ‘passengers’ from the Clotilda joined him.
Times were dire and brutal, but, through hard work and sheer determination, Lewis and company built a home of their own: AfricaTown. For some time, the town was a seat of African culture and heritage. Now, nearly 100 years later, the city has begun to wilt. It’s become a food desert with nary a sign of a grocery store, convenience store, or healthcare facility. Residents, tired of the lack of resources, began to leave their ancestral ground in search of a more convenient lifestyle. As a result, the population has shrunk considerably and continues to decline steadily.
Hoping to stymy the bleeding of this once thriving community, McCants and Chapman started the revitalization project. They’re hoping to find a supporters willing to help. Ideal advocates would be willing to help lure an urgent care facility, build affordable housing, and attract a small grocery store. Perhaps a developer or local politician, who love history and wants to help preserve it, will answer the call.
Are you willing to lend a your time, influence and/or funds to help revive this historic community in Mobile Country, AL? If yes, please call or text Jason Will at 251-583-9728.
Listen to the full episode here - http://impactagentpodcast.com/ep65-africatown-history-and-hope