To develop Africatown and Africatown Park into economic, educational, and cultural engines for the communities within which they reside.
Africatown represents what is left of the area settled by Tarkbar captives bought to the United States by slaveship in 1860 (50 years following illegalization). Its last surviving founding member, Cudjoe was interviewed by acclaimed African American author, Zora Neal Hurston before his death in 1935. For many years Cudjoe served as a go-between and interpreter for the community, which maintained usage of its original African language and cultures until the 1950s (e.g. dispute arbitration by the tribal chieftain, Charlie Poteete, and having their illnesses treated by the African doctor, Jabez) In 2012, the community was placed on the Register of Historic Places.
Africatown is unique in that it represents a group of Africans who were forcefully removed from their homeland, sold into slavery, and then formed their own, largely self-governing community, all the while maintaining a strong sense of African cultural heritage.
Africatown is also well known for its folk medicine, and most residents continue to rely on traditional African herbal drugs. Like most African music, the music in Africatown is chiefly vocal. The area is rich in folktales, many of which need to be recorded and documented.
Of primary importance to current residents of Africatown is to preserve and make available the history and historical importance of Africatown to local communities and African American culture across Alabama and the US.
Africatown Park is 150 Acre parcel of undeveloped, city-owned land along Chickasabogue Creek in Prichard, AL. iN 1983 Africatown Park was designated by the State of Alabama for future development as a state park celebrating the history of the Africatown community. A living-history African village concept has been proposed for the park.
This project will utilize Chicasaw Creek as a link between the two sites, highlighting the history and ecological importance of the area.
Both the community of Africatown and the City of Prichard (which houses Africatown Park) have identified youth involvement and development of tourism as goals within their respective comprehensive plans. This project will meet both needs by:
- increasing opportunities for youth influenced education of the area
- establishing partnerships with Federal Agencies to develop pathways to careers.
- Establishing internship opportunities in business management, business administration, eco-tourism, history tours, and other entrepreneurial endeavors.
- Designing programs for youth and their families to engage the project in a manner that fosters enjoyment of recreational and economic opportunities.
Africatown encompasses approximately 5 square miles and Africatown Park is 150 Acres. Chickasaw Creek runs approximately 10 miles as a connector of the two sites.
Building upon a technical assistance partnership with the National Park Service, the Africatown
Connections Project will utilize the area’s geography and unique history to foster community focused
Education: Opportunities for students from elementary though University to interact with the blueway and connected parkway will be implemented to stimulate programmatic and environmental sustainability.
Economic: Concession and recreation opportunities for local residents to participate in as business and job creators. Additionally, new rules regarding investing via crowdfunding will be utilized to provide local capital for the development of concession and recreations opportunities.
Cultural: Highlighting the unique historicity of the project as an opportunity for celebration and research, as well as educational and economic opportunities.