• Educational Guide


Descendant Discussion Guide

In telling the story of the Clotilda and the community left in its wake, Descendant (2022) director Margaret Brown lays bare the aftermath of America’s last known slave ship the Clotilda and the 2019 discovery of its wreckage. Decades of unjust land appropriation and zoning practices have left the descendent community, Africatown, surrounded by heavy industry, including a hazardous waste dump, a lead manufacturing plant and chemical refineries for paper and oil industries.

The Meaher family were slave traders and financiers of the Clotilda. Their estate has had a lasting and detrimental impact on the Africatown community and “continues to profit from land originally designated for descendants of the Clotilda,” says Descendant producer, Essie Chambers. 

This resource guide is intended to be adaptable to Descendant viewers of all ages. It aims to engage audiences in critical discussions centered on the film’s major themes and to inspire actions in the pursuit of justice, reconciliation, and healing, in communities everywhere. With references to key moments, the guide includes discussion questions, suggested individual and group activities, and hyperlinks to handouts and other resources intended to deepen viewers’ understanding of the ideas and events depicted in the film.