Post Reports

Finding America’s last-known slave ship — and confronting a monstrous past

Nicole Ellis tells the story of the Clotilda, the last-known ship of the illegal slave trade in the U.S. And Oyinkan Braithwaite ruminates on the unexpected relatability of her novel, “My Sister, the Serial Killer.”
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Post Reports is the daily podcast from The Washington Post. Unparalleled reporting. Expert insight. Clear analysis. Everything you’ve come to expect from the newsroom of The Post -- for your ears.

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Discovering the Clotilda
The Clotilda was America’s last-known slave ship, arriving on U.S. shores with captives from Benin in West Africa in 1860 — decades after the international slave trade was abolished in the country.

Nicole Ellis ventures to Africatown, Ala., to tell this sinister story of slavery: how a bet by an Alabama landowner spurred the construction of the Clotilda, and how, a century and a half later, descendents of the last enslaved Americans are confronting their dark past. 

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One sister is a nurse. The other is a killer.
Oyinkan Braithwaite’s debut novel, “My Sister, the Serial Killer,” isn’t the pulpy slasher the title might lead you to expect. Rather, it’s an often-playful interrogation of sibling rivalry, the legacy of abuse and the shallow sexism of a deeply patriarchal society that many women have found — strangely — relatable.

“It surprised me how many sisters have connected over ‘My Sister, the Serial Killer,’ because it’s such a weird book to connect over,” Braithwaite says. “I didn’t think it was a book that was going to draw siblings together.”

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About Post Reports

Post Reports is the daily podcast from The Washington Post. Unparalleled reporting. Expert insight. Clear analysis. Everything you’ve come to expect from the newsroom of The Post -- for your ears.