A new documentary on The Wanderer, one of the last ships to bring slaves to America, will air on Georgia Public Television on Tuesday night.

Produced by Era Productions in association with Weatherford Communications, the new 30-minute documentary examines the sordid history and transformation of The Wanderer from a luxury sailing yacht to a slave ship and then a military vessel.


Originally envisioned as a racing schooner and constructed in 1857, The Wanderer was built for speed at 114 feet in length, weighing in at 234 tons with 90-foot main mast. It won its first regatta in 1858 off the coast of Brunswick. The Wanderer became known as the fastest sailing ship in the New York Yacht Club. After being sold to slave-owner Charles Lamar of Charleston, S.C., the ship was sent to West Africa and up the Congo River.

Transportation of human slave labor was outlawed in 1808 by the U.S. The Wanderer’s new owners hoped to use the yacht’s remarkable speed and disguise as a luxury cruiser to outsmart law enforcement and continue a lucrative illegal slave trade. The Wanderer arrived at Jekyll Island in November 1858 at St. Andrews Sound with an estimated 409 enslaved captives.

It would be the penultimate voyage to bring enslaved persons to America. In 1860, the Clotilda brought the last group of enslaved humans, around 190, to American shores.

The Wanderer was sold off and later captured by the Union Army during the Civil War. It was converted into a military vessel with deck guns and used for blockades. The Wanderer was decommissioned in 1865. It sank in 1871 of the coast of Cuba.

“The Wanderer” documentary airs at 8 p.m. Nov. 13 on GBP.


On Saturday, Nov. 17, the Jekyll Island Authority will host an afternoon of remembrance to open the new Wanderer Memory Trail on Jekyll Island. This trail tells the story of the survivors of the Wanderer.

The opening ceremony is scheduled for 3:30-5 p.m. at the St. Andrews Picnic Area on Jekyll Island. This memorial will honor the enslaved Africans who 160 years ago were smuggled to America on the slave ship Wanderer.

The ceremony will also feature performances by the Geechee Gullah Ring Shouters, a troupe of performing artists who are descendants of African slaves.