Africatown Notables

My city of Mobile, Alabama is a charming and picturesque Southern community. With its large antebellum homes and vast array of tall pine trees and massive oak trees overhanging Springhill Avenue, Mobile is a city that can rival any Southern city for beauty and scenery. However, the creative minds of the people of Mobile are one of the unique characteristics that elevate the city of Mobile above other Southern cities.

Mobile's leaders have, on occasion, come together to keep landmark tourist attractions and create new ones that add to the flavor of the community. Events such as The Moonpie Drop on New Year's Eve, BayFest Music Festival, a college bowl game, America's Distinguished Young Women competition and the Senior Bowl are a few of the most successful events staged by the City of Mobile that bring visitors back to Mobile every year to spend money and enjoy themselves.

Photo: Africatown Notable Henry "Hank" Aaron at the 2013 Baseball Hall of Fame induction, by Chris Evans.

There are two additional events that happen in Mobile that inspired me to call Mobile, "The City of the First and the Last". Those two events are, 1) The first Mardi Gras to be celebrated in the United States, and 2) The last shipment of slaves to arrive in the United States.  The celebration and recognition of those two events could not be more different than day and night. Because the city of Mobile plans for a month long celebration of the Mardi Gras season, thousands of tax payers dollars are used to realize millions of dollars in return to the city and local businesses. No planning is put forth and no money is committed by the city to denote the arrival of that last shipment of slaves in this country. The key words here are planning and monies committed. Those words were also omitted in the case of the now-defunct Azalea City Football Classic and Annual Turkey Day Football Classic. 

My grandfather used to say, "Don't get mad at me" when he would stand up in church and talk about his grandchildren. "If you want someone to talk about your grandchildren stand up and speak loud." There are five politicians elected to represent the Africatown community on the local and state level – the County Commissioner, City Commissioner, School Board Representative, State Representative and State Senator – each with discretionary funds at their disposal. If each one allocated $2,000 to the Africatown Community to finance the re-enactment of the landing of the slave ship Clotilde, it could mean the beginning of proper local recognition for the Africatown Community. Our elected officials ought to stand up and speak loud about our ancestors and history.

Listed below are notable items about Africatown's history, its people, and some of its businesses that any tourist would find to be both interesting and educational while visiting Mobile.


In December 2012, Africatown was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. According to the National Park Service, "The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's Historic Places worthy of preservation, authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. The National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate and protect America's historic and archeological resources."

  • In July 1860 the last shipment of slaves in America landed in Mobile (Africatown), Alabama aboard the slave ship Clotilde.
  • In 1866, after slaves were freed, that last shipment of slaves established the first settlement founded by freed slaves in America in which the form of government resembled that of an African Tribe. They were slaves for only 5 years and knew more about being free than slaves.
  •  In 1880, they established the school that evolved into the Mobile County Training School. The first training school in Alabama's History.
  •  In 1910, Mobile County Training School received its accreditation, thus making it the first public school in Mobile County to be accredited. The land the school was built upon was donated to the school system by those freed slaves after they had purchased the land.


Those mentioned below were either born in Africatown, descendants of Africatown Natives, attended Historic Mobile County Training School or were born or grew up within a 5 mile radius of the Africatown community boundary.

  1. Billy Williams  
    1956 graduate of M.C.T.S.  
    Played Baseball for the Chicago Cubs
    Member of Baseball's Hall Of Fame
  2. Cleon Jones  
    1961 graduate of M.C.T.S. 
    Member of '69 New York Mets ("Miracle Mets"), Baseball World Series Championship Team
    Elected to Mets Team Hall Of Fame
  3. Tommie Agee  
    1960 graduate of M.C.T.S.
    Member of '69 New York Mets ("Miracle Mets"), Baseball World Series Championship Team
    Elected to Mets Team Hall Of Fame
    American League Rookie of The Year
  4. Henry "Hank" Aaron  
    Raised in Mobile, Graduated from Cedar Grove Academy
    Played for the Atlanta Braves
    Former Baseball's Home Run King
    Member of Baseball's Hall Of Fame 
  5. Willie McCovey
    Born in Mobile. Graduated from Williamson H.S.
    Played for the San Francisco Giants
    Member of Baseball's Hall Of Fame   
  6. "Satchel" Paige  
    Born in Mobile, played semi-pro games in Africatown
    Member of Baseball's Hall Of Fame
  7. Ozzie Smith 
    Born in Mobile. 
    Member of the Saint Louis Cardinals
    Member of Baseball's Hall Of Fame
  8. Amos Otis  
    Born in Mobile.  
    Played games on the M.C.T.S. Athletic Field
    Member of Kansas City Royals, Baseball World Series Championship Team
    Member of '69 New York Mets ("Miracle Mets"), Baseball World Series Championship Team
    Member of K.C. Royals Hall Of Fame.
  9. Robert Brazell   
    Africatown Native  
    Houston Oilers Football Hall Of Fame
    Former NFL Defensive Rookie Of The Year
    Eight-time All Star  
    Six-time First Team All Pro
  10. Henry C. Williams   
    Africatown's First Historian
    Books: Africatown USA, History Of M.C.T.S. and Stop On Red
  11. Albert Murray  
    1935 graduate of MCTS
    Playwrite - Author - Music Critic - Tuskegee Airman
    Wrote music for Duke Ellington
  12. William "Bill" Clark    
    1958 graduate of MCTS
    Elected 26 straight years as State Representative in Montgomery, Alabama, serving the Africatown Community.
  13. Catana Starks   
    1962 graduate of MCTS
    The first female to coach an all male team on the college level, when she was named coach of the Men's Golf Team at Tennessee State University. Her life was made into a movie released this year, "From The Rough,” starring Taraji P. Henson and Michael Clarke Duncan.
  14. Angela, Ashley and Stacy Gowdy
    Daughters of Africatown Natives and MCTS graduates Mark and Phylis Gowdy 
    The first 3 African-American Female sisters to graduate from The West Point Military Academy.
  15. Dr. James Harvey Brown    
    1942 graduate of MCTS
    Head of Dental School at Meherry Medical College for 50 years
  16. Rev. Julius C. Hope  
    MCTS Graduate / Africatown Native
    First Director of Religion for the NAACP National Organization


Below are current Major Businesses located in Africatown

  1. Kimberly - Clark Corporation
    200 Bay Bridge Road      
    Paper Products
    Purchase facilities from Scott Paper around year 2000
  2. Berg Pipe Company                   
    Paper Mill Road
    Located on a portion of the old International Paper site.
  3. Metals USA      
    1251 Woodland Avenue
    Steel Distribution
  4. Ladd Supply     
    1250 Woodland Avenue
    Building Supply Materials
  5. Miller Transport    
    206 Telegraph Road
    Chemical Trucking Company
  6. Gulf Lumber Company (Scotch)   
    1850 Conception Street Road
    Originally owned and operated by the Stimpson Family of Mobile.
    Recently purchased by the Canadian National Railway Corporation.

Closed Businesses

Businesses that are closed but operated for over 50 years in the Africatown Community.

  1. International Paper Company    
    Southeastern Division Headquarters
    At one time employed nearly 6,000 employees.
  2. Scott Paper Company      
    6,000 employees

To organize a professional tour of the Africatown Community, please contact any member of the Africatown Community Development Corporation (