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tv   60 Minutes  CBS  June 13, 2021 7:00pm-8:01pm PDT

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>> as a result of the wounds inflicted by ar-15 style rifles... ( gunfire ) ...the weapons used in the worst
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of the recent mass shootings, doctors, first responders, civilians, and children are now being trained to use something called a bleeding kit, an idea that comes from saving americans on the battlefield. >> hurry up, hurry up! >> you believe that these mass casualty events have become so common, that it is important for everyone in this country to be prepared? >> everyone. >> that's where we are in america today? >> that's where we are. ( ticking ) >> we have to do something to make sure that the legacy of those people in that cargo hold never ever is forgotten. >> for 160 years, this muddy stretch of the mobile river has covered up a crime. in july, 1860, the "clotilda" was towed here under cover of darkness. imprisoned in its cramped cargo hold, 110 enslaved africans. >> sonar is on. zero pressure. good to drop. >> that's it right there? >> yes. >> oh, you can see it totally clearly. i mean, that's the ship? >> yes. ( ticking ) >> simone biles was expected
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to be the star of the olympics last summer. then covid hit. the games were postponed. biles was crushed. >> i just sat there and i was like, i really don't know how i'm going to do this. like, another year out? it's like, how do you push back for another year? >> we were with her in the fall, as she got back to the grind. biles was working on something that turned our heads-- something that seemed to defy gravity and good sense. >> oh, my gosh! ( ticking ) >> i'm lesley stahl. >> i'm bill whitaker. >> i'm anderson cooper. >> i'm sharyn alfonsi. >> i'm scott pelley. those stories, tonight, on "60 minutes." ( ticking ) mananaging type e 2 diabete? on i it. on i it. on it, w with jardiaiance. they'rere 22 millioion prprescriptionons strong.. meetet the peoplple who aree mananaging type e 2 diabetes anand heart ririsk with jajard. jajardiance isis a once-dadaill ththat can rededuce the rirk ofof cardiovasascular deatah for adultsts who alsoo haveve known heaeart diseas.
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you're welelcome. lilike an updadated kitchen inin just an a afternoon.. it's a a whole newew look. -d-drinks? from the n new kitchenen car? -yes. the e bedroom ststyle ofof your dreaeams. this roooom is so yoyou. -i g got it all l on wayfair. yeah y you did, anand so did . the peperfect setutup for r game nightht. i know thihis! it's ththe sing, it's t the singer!r! yes! i gotot next gameme. -kelelly clarksoson. i loveve this sofafa. lookok at the ststorage. yoyou like my y sofa? -i love yoyour sofa. >> pelley: the mass shooting this past april at an indianapolis fed-ex facility has something in common with the deadliest massacres: the ar-15
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semiautomatic rifle. variations of the ar-15 were used to kill at a boulder, colorado supermarket, a pittsburgh synagogue, a texas church, a las vegas concert, a high school in florida, and sandy hook elementary school. the ar-15 is the most popular rifle in america. there are over 19 million, and they are rarely used in crime. handguns kill far more people. but as we first reported in 2018, the ar-15 is the choice of our worst mass murderers. ar-15 ammunition travels three times the speed of sound. and tonight, we're going to slow that down, so you can see why the ar-15's high velocity ammo is the fear of every american emergency room. >> hang on, hang on, hang on! ( gunfire )
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>> pelley: mass shootings were once so shocking... >> where the ( bleep ) is this coming from? >> pelley: ...they were impossible to forget. ( gunfire ) >> we have an active shooter inside the fairground! >> pelley: now, they've become so frequent... >> get down, get down, get down, let's go, let's go, let's go! >> pelley: ...it's hard to remember them all. ( gunfnfire ) >> oh my god, we're all going to die! >> pelley: in october, 2018, at a pittsburgh synagogue, 11 were killed, six wounded. just 11 months before, it was a church in sutherland springs, texas. assistant fire chief rusty duncan was among the first to arrive. >> rusty duncan: 90% of the people in there were unrecognizable. you know, the blood everywhere, i mean, it just covered them from head to toe. they were shot in so many
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different places that you just couldn't make out who they were. >> pelley: the church is now a memorial to the 26 who were murdered. >> duncan: i've never had the experience, not with any kind of weapon like this. for me to see the damage that it did was unbelievable. it was shattering concrete. i-- you know, you can only imagine what it does to a human body. >> pelley: the police estimate that he fired about 450 rounds. >> duncan: oh, i believe it. i saw the damage it did. i saw the holes in the church. from one side to the other. all the pews, the concrete, the carpet... i saw it all. >> pelley: a gunshot wound is potentially fatal, no matter what kind of ammunition is used. but, cynthia bir showed us the difference in an ar-15 round against gelatin targets, in her ballistics lab at the university of southern california. >> cynthia bir: years of research have gone in to kind of what the makeup should be of
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this ordnance gelatin, to really represent what damage you would see in your soft tissues. >> pelley: so this is a pretty accurate representation of what would happen to a human being? >> bir: yeah, this is currently considered the-- kind of the state of the art. ( gunshot ) >> pelley: this is a 9 millimeter bullet from a handgun, which we captured in slow motion. the handgun bullet traveled about 800 miles an hour. it sliced nearly straight all the way through the gel. >> bir: this one is going to be a little bit louder. >> pelley: now, look at the ar-15 round. ( gunshot ) >> bir: see the difference? >> pelley: yes. it's three times faster, and struck with more than twice the force. the shockwave of the ar-15 bullet blasted a large cavity in the gel, unlike the bullet from the handgun. wow. there's an enormous difference. you can see it right away. >> bir: yeah, exactly. there's fragments in here. there's-- it kind of took a curve and came out.
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you can see a much larger area, in terms of the fractures that are inside. >> pelley: now watch from above. on top, the handgun. at bottom, the ar-15. it's just exploded. >> bir: it's exploded and it's tumbling. so what happens is, this particular round is designed to tumble and break apart. >> pelley: the 9 millimeter handgun round has a larger bullet, but this ar-15 round has more gunpowder, accelerating its velocity. both the round and the rifle were designed in the 1950s for the military. the result was the m-16 for our troops, and the ar-15 for civilians. >> bir: there's going to be a lot more damage to the tissues, both bones, organs, whatever gets kind of even near this bullet path. the bones aren't going to just break, they're going to shatter. organs aren't just going to kind of tear or have bruises on them, they're going to be-- parts of them are going to be destroyed. >> pelley: that fairly describes the wounds suffered by 29-year-
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old joann ward. at sutherland springs baptist church, she was shot more than 20 times while covering her children. ward was dead, her daughters mortally wounded, as assistant fire chief rusty duncan made his way from the back of the sanctuary. >> duncan: as i got a couple of rows up, ryland's hand reached out from under his step-mom and grabbed my pant leg. i wouldn't even known he was alive until he did that. i didn't even see him under her. well, that's where me and him made eye contact for the first time. >> pelley: joann ward's five- year-old step-son ryland ward was hit five times, and was nearly gone when he reached trauma surgeon lillian liao at san antonio's university hospital. how much of ryland's blood do you think was lost before he came to you? >> lillian liao: at least half. >> pelley: this is ryland's e.r. x-ray. >> liao: you see the two bullet
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fragments that are in him. >> pelley: the x-ray shows you the solid fragments of the shrapnel and the bullets, but it doesn't tell you much about the damage to the soft tissue. >> liao: no, and it doesn't tell you what's on the inside. i mean, a bomb went off on the inside, and our job is to go in there and clean it up. >> pelley: a bomb went off on the inside because of the shockwave from these high- velocity rounds. >> liao: correct. >> pelley: ryland endured 24 surgeries to repair his arm, leg, pelvis, intestines, kidney, bladder and hip. >> liao: at some point, it's like putting humpty dumpty back together again. >> pelley: what do you mean? >> liao: well, his organs are now in different pieces, and you have to reconstruct them. the arm was missing soft tissue, skin, muscle, and part of the nerves were damaged. the bowel has to be put back together. some of the areas of injury has to heal itself, so you can see that he can walk around like a normal child and behave as
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normal as possible. >> pelley: with the ar-15, it's not just the speed of the bullet, but also how quickly hundreds of bullets can be fired. the ar-15 is not a fully automatic machine gun. it fires only one round with each pull of the trigger. ( rapid gunfire ) but in las vegas, it sounded like a machine gun. >> that's an ar! ( gunfire ) go, go, go! >> pelley: a special add-on device called a bump stock allowed the killer to pull the trigger rapidly enough to kill 58 and wound 489. >> let's go! come to me, hands up! >> pelley: in other mass killings, the ar-15 was fired without a bump stock, but even then, it can fire about 60 rounds a minute. ( gunfire ) amammunition magazines that hold up to 100 rounds can be e changd in about five seconds. ( gunfire )
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>> maddy wilford: i remember hearing the gunshots go off and... being so nervous and scared, and all of the sudden, i felt something hit me. >> pelley: you'd been shot how many times? >> wilford: four times. >> pelley: how many surgeries? >> wilford: three. for my arm, my stomach, and my ribs and lung. >> pelley: in february of 2018, 17-year-old maddy wilford was at school-- marjorie stoneman douglas high school in parkland, florida. ( crying ) 17 were murdered, 17 wounded. >> wilford: and i just remember thinking to myself... "there's no way," like, "not me, please, not me. i don't want to go yet." >> laz ojeda: her vital signs were almost nonexistent. she looked like all the blood had gone out of her body. she was in a state of deep
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shock. >> pelley: paramedic laz ojeda saved maddy wilford, in part, because broward county e.m.s. recently equipped itself for the battlefield wounds that the ar-15 inflicts. >> ojeda: we carry active killer kits in our rescues. >> pelley: active killer kits? >> ojeda: yes. >> pelley: what is that? >> ojeda: that is a kit that has five tourniquets, five decompression needles, five hemostatic agents, five emergency trauma dressings. >> pelley: dr. peter antevy, broward county medical director, told us today's wounds demand a new kind of training. >> peter antevy: if i take you through one of our ambulances or take you through our protocols, almost everything we do is based on what the military has taught us. we never used to carry tourniquets; we never used to carry chest seals. these were things that were done in the military for many, many years. >> pelley: when did all of that change? >> antevy: it really changed, i think, after sandy hook. >> pelley: after sandy hook elementary school, where 20 first graders and six educators
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were killed with ar-15 rounds, a campaign called "stop the bleed" began nationwide. antevy and doctors including lillian liao in san antonio, are training civilians who are truly the first responders. there have been more than 88,000 classes in six years. >> antevy: you have to go the second wrap to actually stop the bleeding here. does it hurt? yeah, her face-- you can undo it now. the day after the shooting, my kids, they're waking up, and they're, "time to go to school." and my son heard, kind of heard what happened the night before, when i was on the scene, and he looked at me... with the fear of god that he had to go to school that day. my first instinct was, "he needs a bleeding kit." my son today has a bleeding kit on his person. >> pelley: how old is he? >> antevy: 12 years old. here it is. this is it.
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we, we, i've given him this, and i've taught him how to use it. >> pelley: you believe that these mass casualty events have become so common-- >> antevy: absolutely. >> pelley: --that it is important for everyone in this country to be prepared? >> antevy: everyone. >> pelley: that's where we are in america today? >> antevy: that's where we are. >> pelley: ryland ward survived the church massacre because firefighter rusty duncan used his belt as a tourniquet. >> therapist: look where you're going. >> pelley: for over a year, ryland worked, often six days a week. >> therapist: slow but controlled. >> pelley: learning to sit... >> therapist: all right, we're loosening up all your muscles. >> pelley: ...stand, and walk again. >> ryland ward: am i strong? >> therapist: you're very strong. you're very strong. >> ward: yes! i'm going to see if this actually goes in the hospital, yep. >> pelley: did you meet some new people in the hospital? you were there for a long time. >> ward: how do you know? >> pelley: they told me. i talked to some of the people who helped you.
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>> ward: like who? >> pelley: there was doctor... >> ward: liao? >> pelley: dr. liao, yes. >> liao: oh, how are you? >> ward: i'm good. >> liao: yeah, how's your arm? >> ward: good. >> liao: let me see. >> pelley: he has his strength back. its remarkable, really. but healing from the loss of his stepmother and sisters won't be as quick. >> nichiporenko: how was your day? >> pelley: maddy wilford is also moving forward. like many who suffer physical trauma, her interests have turned to medicine. and an internship... >> nichiporenko: maddy, come here. >> pelley: ...where she is studying the kind of surgeries that saved her. >> everybody out, out, out, out! >> pelley: not long ago, many communities assumed mass murder would never come to them. >> where's she hit? where's she hit? where's she hit? what's wrong with that girl right there? >> pelley: today, all americans are being asked to prepare for the grievous wounds... >> oh, my god! >> pelley: ...of high velocity rounds. >> tourniquet! >> hurry up, hurry up!
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>> pelley: since our story first aired in 2018, ryland ward-- now nine years old-- has had several more surgeries to remove shrapnel from his arm and to treat ongoing heart, stomach and kidney problems. parkland student maddy wilford is in her second year of college, majoring in biology and on track for med school. ( ticking ) welcome toto allstate.e. ♪ ♪ you alreadady pay for car ininsurance, why nonot take youour home along for r the ride?? allstate.. here, betttter protectction cos a wholole lot lessss. you'u're in goodod hands. click or c call to b bundle todaday.
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>> cooper: three years ago, a sunken ship was found in the bottom of an alabama river. it turned out to be the long- lost wreck of the "clotilda," the last slave ship known to have brought captured africans to america in 1860. at least 12 million africans were shipped to the americas in the more than 350 years of the trans-atlantic slave trade, but
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as we first reported in november, the journey of the 110 captive men, women, and children brought to alabama on the "clotilda" is one of the best documented slave voyages in history. the names of those enslaved africans, and their story, has been passed down through the generations by their descendants, some of whom still live just a few miles from where the ship was found, in a community called africatown. for 160 years, this muddy stretch of the mobile river has covered up a crime. in july, 1860, the "clotilda" was towed here under cover of darkness. imprisoned in its cramped cargo hold, 110 enslaved africans. >> joycelyn davis: i just imagined myself being on that ship, just listening to the waves and the water, and just not knowing where you were going. >> cooper: joyceyln davis, lorna gail woods, and thomas griffin are direct descendants of this african man, oluale. enslaved in alabama, his owner
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changed his name to charlie lewis. this image is from around 1900. pollee allen, whose african name was kupollee, seen in this hundred-year-old sketch, was the ancestor of jeremy ellis and darron patterson. >> darron patterson: no clothes. eating where they defecated. only allowed out of the cargo hold for one day a week, for two months. how many people do you-- do we know now that could've survived something like that, without losing their mind? >> cooper: there are no photographs of pat frazier's great-great grandmother, lottie dennison, but caprinxia wallace and her mother cassandra have a surprising number of pictures of their ancestor, kossula, who's owner called him cudjo lewis. what does it feel like to be able to know where you come from, to know the person who came here first? >> caprinxia wallace: it's empowering, very. like, growing up, my mom made sure she told me all the stories that her dad told her about cudjo. >> cooper: cassandra, that was
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important to you to pass that knowledge along? >> cassandra: very important, yes. my dad sat us down and he would make us repeat "kossulu, 'clotilda,' cudjo lewis." >> griffin: it has historical importance, as well as a story that needs to be told. >> cooper: the story of the "clotilda" began in 1860, when timothy meaher, a wealthy businessman, hired captain william foster to illegally smuggle a shipload of captive africans from the kingdom of dahomey in west africa, to mobile, alabama. slavery was still legal in the southern united states, but importing new slaves into america had been outlawed in 1808. in his journal, captain foster described purchasing the captives using "$9,000 in gold and merchandise." as this replica shows, the enslaved africans were locked naked in the cargo hold of the "clotilda" for two sickening months. when they arrived in mobile, they were handed over to timothy
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meaher and several others. captain foster claimed he then burned and sank the "clotilda," but exactly where remained a mystery-- until 2018, when a local reporter, ben raines, found the "clotilda" in about 20 feet of water not far from mobile. he'd been searching for seven months, following clues in captain foster's journal. the exact location hasn't been made public for fear someone might vandalize the ship, but last year, the alabama historical commission gave maritime archeologist james delgado, who helped verify the wreck, permission to take us there. so, the "clotilda" came up this way? >> james delgado: straight up here, practically in a straight line after they dropped off the people. and then on one side of the bank, set her on fire and sank her. >> cooper: so, he was trying to destroy evidence of a crime? >> delgado: yes. >> cooper: the bow of the "clotilda" is not far from the surface, but the water's so muddy, the only way to see it is with this sonar device.
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>> sonar is on. zero pressure. good to drop. >> cooper: so, we're almost over it now? >> delgado: yeah, we're coming right up on it. >> so, that's the bow right there? >> cooper: that's it right there? >> delgado: yes. >> cooper: oh, you can see it like that? >> delgado: yeah. >> cooper: you can see it totally clearly. i mean, that's the ship? >> delgado: yes. yeah, that's "clotilda." >> cooper: on sonar, the bow is clearly defined, as are both sides of the hull. the ship is 86 feet long, but the back of it, the stern, is buried deep in mud. those two horizontal lines are likely the walls of the cargo hold where the enslaved africans had been packed tightly together on the voyage from west africa. so, the hold where people were held, how big was that? >> delgado: in terms of where people could actually fit, five feet by about 20 feet. >> cooper: wait a minute. it was only five feet high? so people could barely stand up in this hold? >> delgado: yes. >> cooper: diving on the wreck is difficult. underwater, there is zero visibility. you can't even see the ship.
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delgado's team has only felt it with their hands. they call it "archeology by braille." this is the only image our camera could pick up: a plank of wood covered with what looks like barnacles. delgado, and state archeologist stacye hathorn, showed us some of the artifacts they retrieved. this plank of wood is likely from the hull of the ship. and this iron bolt with wood attached, shows evidence of fire damage. >> stacye hathorn: you don't see the grain of the wood. >> delgado: it basically makes a briquette. >> cooper: so, this is evidence clearly of, that they tried to burn the ship? >> hathorn: yes. >> delgado: yes. >> cooper: the enslaved africans were taken off the ship before it sank, but delgado says there could still be d.n.a. from some of them in the wreck. >> delgado: you will find human hair. you can find nail clippings. somebody may have lost a tooth. >> cooper: you could still find human hair in the wreck of the "clolotilda?" > delgado: : yes. >> c cooper: thehe state of f aa has set asidide a millioion dols for r further exexcavation, , to dedetermine ifif the "clototildn evever be raisised from ththe riverbeded.
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the e ship may b be too damamagr the efeffort too e expensive. >> mary elliott: i think what's extremely important for folks to understand is that, that there was a concerted effort to hide these things that were done. >> cooper: mary elliott oversees the collection of slavery artifacts at the smithsonian's national museum of african american history and culture in washington, d.c. >> elliott: it's important that we found the remnants of this ship, because it, for african americans, it's their piece of the true cross, their touchstone, to say, "we've been telling you for years, and here's the proof." >> cooper: remarkably, many of the descendants still live just a few miles from where the "clotilda" was discovered. this is africatown. founded around 1868, three years after emancipation, by 30 of the africans brought on the "clotilda." joycelyn davis has organized festivals to honor africatown's founders, one of whom was her great-great-great-grandfather,
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charlie lewis. last year she took us to the street he lived on, called lewis quarters. so, pretty much everyone on this street can trace their lineage back to charlie lewis-- >> davis: yes. everyone here is related. >> cooper: wow. >> davis: yeah. >> cooper: lewis and some of the others got jobs at a nearby sawmill, owned by timothy meaher, the same man responsible for enslaving them. >> davis: i mean, they worked for, like, a dollar a day. and so, they saved up their money to buy land. >> cooper: cudjo lewis also worked at the meaher's sawmill. this rare film shows him in 1928. by then he was in his 80s and one of the "clotilda's" last living survivors. he helped found this church in africatown, the same church his descendants still attend today. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ after emancipation, it seemed so unlikely that a group of freed slaves could pool their resources and build a community. i mean, that's an extraordinary thing.
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>> elliott: there's this thing we say about making a way out of no way. >> cooper: making a way out of no way? >> elliott: when these folks were forced over here from the continent of africa, they didn't come with empty heads. they came with empty hands. so, they found a way to make a way. and they relied on each other. and they were resilient. >> cooper: africatown is the only surviving community in america founded by africans, and over the decades, it prospered. there was a business district. the first black school in mobile. and by the 1960s, 12,000 people lived here. >> lorna: they built a city within a city, and that's what we can be proud of. >> cassandra: we had a gas station. we had a grocery store. >> patterson: drive-in. >> cassandra: post office, all that was a booming area of black-owned business. >> cooper: but today, those black-owned businesses are gone. an interstate highway was built through the middle of africatown in the early 1990s, and the
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small clusters of remaining homes are surrounded by factories and chemical plants. fewer than 2,000 people still live here. the smithsonian's mary elliott took us to africatown's cemetery, where some of the "clotilda's" survivors and generations of their descendants are buried. no matter where you go in africatown, you can hear factories and industry and the highway. >> elliott: there is this constant buzz. it's a buzz you hear all the time, day and night. and it's a constant reminder of the breakup of this community. >> cooper: the descendants we spoke with hope the discovery of the "clotilda" will lead to the revitalization of africatown, and they'd like the descendants of timothy meaher, the man who enslaved their ancestors, to get involved. according to tax records, meaher's descendants still own an estimated 14% of the land in historic africatown. their name is on nearby street signs and property markers.
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court filings indicate their real estate and timber businesses are worth an estimated $36 million. but so far, the descendants we spoke with say no one from the meaher family has been willing to meet. >> patterson: i don't think it's something that people want to remember. >> wallace: because they have to acknowledge that they benefit from it today. >> that they benefited, that's it. that they benefited. and they don't want to acknowledge that. >> cooper: people don't want to look back and acknowledge it. >> they don't want to acknowledge that that's how part of their wealth was derived. >> patterson: big part. >> and that, on the backs of those people. >> cooper: what would you want to say to them? i mean, if-- if they were willing to sit down and have, you know, have a coffee with you? >> we would first need to acknowledge what was done in the past. and then there's an accountability piece, that your family, for this many years, five years, owned my ancestors. and then the third piece would be, how do we partner together with-- in africatown? >> i don't want to receive anything personally. however, there's a need for a
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lot of development in that community. >> cooper: we reached out to four members of the meaher family-- all either declined or didn't respond to our request for an interview. one man who did want to meet the descendants is mike foster. he's a 74-year-old air force veteran from montana. while researching his genealogy, mike foster discovered he is the distant cousin of william foster, the captain of the "clotilda." had you ever heard of the last slave ship? >> william foster: no. no. >> cooper: what did you think when you heard it? >> foster: i wasn't happy about it. it was-- it was very distressing. >> cooper: do you feel some guilt? >> foster: no, i didn't feel any guilt. i didn't do it. but i could apologize for it. >> cooper: and last year, before the pandemic, that's exactly what he did. >> lorna: yeah, over 160 years have passed, and we finally-- >> foster: 160 years. >> lorna: yes.
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>> davis: this is a powerful moment. this is a powerful moment. >> foster: so, i'm here to say i'm sorry. >> lorna: thank you. >> thank you. >> cooper: in an effort to attract tourism to africatown, the state of alabama plans to build a welcome center here. but the descendants we spoke with hope more can be done to restore and rebuild this historic black community, and honor the african men and women who founded it. >> so, i always think, my god, such strong people, so capable, achieved so much, and started with so little. >> patterson: we have to do something to make sure that the legacy of those people in that cargo hold never ever is forgotten. because they are the reason that we're even here. >> cooper: since our story first aired, the city of mobile has broken ground on a museum in africatown that will open to the public in the fall.
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( ticking ) >> sharyn alfonsi: simone biles is one of the most dominant athletes in the world. if that sounds like hyperbole, just listen to this: she hasn't lost a gymnastics all-around competition in eight years, and in a sport where the top contenders are usually separated by mere decimal points, she wins by whole numbers. she also owns the most olympic and world championship gold medals combined of any gymnast
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in history. as we first reported in february, biles had hoped to crown her career with more olympic golds last summer and then retire. but when the pandemic postponed the tokyo olympics until this july, biles reluctantly decided to train for another year. if, like most americans, you only watch gymnastics once every four years during the olympics, here's a glimpse of what you've missed. at the 2019 world championships in germany... four-foot-eight simone biles stretched the laws of physics. >> simone biles: i thought i had already maxed out on all the events. so to see what i could do kind of blew my mind. >> alfonsi: do you still surprise yourself? >> biles: yeah. sometimes, i still surprise myself. >> alfonsi: like, "i just did that?" >> biles: yes, all the time. >> alfonsi: biles has made a career out of surprising people. she was the first woman to do
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this move on the floor... this on the vault... and this on the beam. all of these moves are now named afteter her. in m march 2020,0, she was r reo pushsh the sportrt even furtrth. as t the tokyo o olympics apapproached, , a documentntarym frfrom facebooook followeded bi, who o says she w was at her r pd better t than ever.. she wawas expecteded to be thehr of the olympics. then, covid hit. the games were postponed. biles says she was crushed. >> biles: i just sat there and i was like, "i really don't know how i'm going to do this. like, another year out? i don't think it's possible for me at this point mentally." >> alfonsi: not physically, but mentally? >> biles: yes. pushing through those trainings when i had in my mind, "in three months i'll be done," it's like, how do you push back for another year? >> alfonsi: her 50,000-square foot gym in texas shut down. biles said she became depressed, slept constantly and wanted to
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quit. >> biles: we ended up taking seven weeks off. >> alfonsi: had you ever had seven weeks off, since you were a little girl? >> biles: no, never in my life! >> alfonsi: how did you change your mind? >> biles: it took a little bit of time. but then i talked to my coaches and cecile especially was like, "you know what, simone? you've trained so hard for this. why would you give it up?" and i'm, like, "yeah, you're right." like, i didn't come this far to only come this far. >> alfonsi: we were with her in the fall, as she got back to the grind. by committing to 6:00 a.m. wakeup calls to start six hours of training, six days a week, biles knew she was taking a risk. there is no guarantee the olympics will take place this summer-- tokyo is under a state of emergency, and hosting 11,000 athleteses from 200 0 countriesa pandemic i is dauntingng. then, there's biles's age. female gymnasts typically peak as teenagers; biles is 23. the way she bounds into the air and pounds onto the mat, the
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threat of an injury is always lurking. as you are back in the gym, pushing it every day, do you worry about your physical health? >> biles: sometimes i do, but i just know that i need to do more therapy and take better care of my body, just because i'm older. >> alfonsi: because you're the ripe age of 23? >> biles: yes. ( laughs ) >> alfonsi: which in a gymnast is, like, what? like... ? >> biles: ancient. ( laugh ) it's pretty old. >> alfonsi: what do you do to get ready to train twice a day? >> biles: get up, go, roll out, stretch before we stretch, because i'm that old. ( laughs ) >> alfonsi: wait, you stretch before you stretch? >> biles: yeah, i have to stretch before i stretch! >> alfonsi: simone biles could win at this summer's olympics if she relied on her old skills, but she has other plans, that seem to defy gravity and good sense. >> oh my gosh. >> alfonsi: at her gym, we found biles working on something that turned our heads. it's called a yurchenko double pike. difficult name, difficult move. >> laurent landi: it's very, very challenging.
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and what's scary, it's that people can get hurt, you know? you do a short landing, you can hurt your ankles, and then, you know, it's-- it's a very dangerous vault. >> alfonsi: biles's new coaches, the french husband and wife team of laurent and cecile landi, say biles may attempt this double pike at the olympics. only men have landed it. how do you make the decision not to just play it safe? >> laurent landi: i think it will become very, very boring for everybody. >> cecile landi: i think she's opened the eyes to everybody that this can be done, when i think a lot of people believed that a female could not do it. >> alfonsi: the landis say biles is built perfectly for the sport. first, she has explosive speed. there is so much power in her run, she can fit in more skills and pile up more points. launching herself twice the height of her frame, it looks like a blur. but, slow down the video and you can appreciate the control:
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one... two... three twists with a double backflip. and her coaches say she was born with another skill that's hard to teach: air awareness. >> biles: air awareness is knowing where you are in the air. most of the time, honestly, i think my eyes go shut. >> alfonsi: oh, really? >> biles: it just feels like the room is spinning. like, if you take a globe and you spin it, it goes so fast you can't really see, and that's how it feels. but i don't crash much, or like, ever. >> alfonsi: no one ever dreamed biles would reach such great heights when she was a small child in columbus, ohio, living with a single mother who was struggling with addiction. >> biles: i remember we didn't really have a lot of food. we were always hungry. and we went to, like, my uncle danny's house. and they gave us cereal. but we didn't have any milk, couldn't afford milk. so we just put water in it. and he was like, "look, it's the same thing!" and we were like, "nope, it's not, but okay, nice try." >> alfonsi: social services took simone and her siblings away from their mother and placed them in foster care.
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simone's maternal grandfather ron biles and his wife nellie were living outside houston at the time. >> ron biles: i got a call from the social worker, said the kids were in foster care. i wasn't aware that it was that bad. i mean, just the thought of them being in foster care, it just sounded so bad, and at that time we had the ability to take care of them. so, "send them to me." >> alfonsi: simone and her sister adria were eventually adopted by their grandpa ron and grandma nellie. >> biles: they were like, "you guys can call us mom and dad if you want." and i remember going upstairs and practicing, and then ran down and i was like, "mom, dad?" >> alfonsi: i mean, you hit the lottery with these two, right? >> biles: yeah, i did. i'm-- i was very blessed. >> alfonsi: seeing simone somersaulting around their living room, her new parents put her in gymnastics out of self- preservation. simone was tiny and a little wobbly at first, but she was fearless. by the time she was 16, she won
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the all-around title at her first world championships in 2013. she hasn't lost since. biles also brought a love of fun to u.s. gymnastics. but for years, her big personality didn't mesh with legendary but austere olympic coach martha karolyi. once a month, biles had to go to a national training camp at the karolyi ranch, a secluded compound north of houston, where martha demanded obedience. you said she wasn't a fan of you being simone. >> biles: yeah. she was not a fan of me just being myself, because she had never dealt with somebody that didn't listen to her straight off the bat. and that kind of... >> alfonsi: were you the problem child?! >> biles: i guess so. i definitely opened a lot of other athletes' eyes. and while we were there, they realized, like, they can talk on the side. we can laugh. we can enjoy gymnastics and be good at it. because i think that was the misconception, was you couldn't be fun, have a personality, and
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be good. you could only be good and that's it. >> alfonsi: biles did something unthinkable in women's gymnastics. in a sport obsessed with weight, she posted photos of herself with food. during training camps at the karolyi ranch, eating was monitored and rationed. >> biles: granted, now, i feel like we can't really get in trouble for this. but, like, there would have been nights where we would, like break into the cafeteria and go get food. >> alfonsi: because you were hungry! >> biles: i've never told that to anybody, like, on film or anything. but there would be nights where we're, like, running with our hoodie up, and we would break into the cafeteria to eat. >> alfonsi: what does that tell you-- now you're an adult and you can look at that. what does that say to you? >> biles: it's not the right training. >> biles! >> alfonsi: biles did go on to win four gold medals under karolyi at the 2016 rio olympics. >> u.s.a.! u.s.a.! >> alfonsi: but while biles was taking a victory lap around america, the "indianapolis star" newspaper exposed the darkest
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secret in gymnastics. dr. larry nassar, the longtime u.s.a. gymnastics physician, was accused of sexually abusing gymnasts, some of them at the karolyi ranch. initially, biles remained silent, even with her mother, nellie. >> nellie biles: i would ask her explicitly about touching, and inappropriate touching, and if that ever happened to her. she would deny it. and then she would want to leave the room. >> alfonsi: the stuff with larry nasser, your mom has said, you didn't want to talk about it at home. >> biles: oh my god, no. >> alfonsi: why not? >> biles: because it was so hard for me to even say it out loud, that i knew how hard, like, it crushed me. it would crush my parents. and i didn't want them to feel the same pain that i felt. because it was very dark times. >> alfonsi: two of simone's olympic teammates were among the dozens of women who publicly disclosed that nassar had abused them. in january 2018, on the eve of
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nassar's sentencing hearing, biles was ready to admit she too had been a victim. >> nellie biles: she was crying. and she said, "mom, i have to talk to you." and i know simone well, and i knew... ( crying ) ...i knew what the conversation was going to be. we just cried and cried. and she didn't say anything. we just cried, because i knew. >> alfonsi: that was the moment. >> nellie biles: that was the moment. >> alfonsi: simone sent out a tweet revealing that nassar had abused her. three days later, u.s.a. gymnastics shut down the karolyi ranch. martha and bela karolyi maintain they didn't know about the abuse. larry nassar was sentenced to as many as 175 years in prison. a lot of people see larry nassar's been sentenced, and think this is over? >> biles: oh, it's far from over. there's still a lot of questions that still need to be answered. and--
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>> alfonsi: what questions do you want answered? >> biles: just, who knew what, when? you guys have failed so many athletes. and most of us underage. you guys don't think that's a bigger problem? like, if that were me and i knew something, i'd want it resolved immediately. >> alfonsi: biles believes there has been little accountability at u.s.a. gymnastics and the u.s. olympic committee, and wants an independent investigation into what happened. you've said that they failed so many young women. do you feel like they failed you as well? >> biles: 100%. we bring them medals. we do our part. you can't do your part in return? it's just, like, it's sickening. >> alfonsi: the way that u.s.a. gymnastics is right now, if you had a daughter in a couple of years, would you want her to be part of that system? >> biles: no, and that's because i don't feel comfortable enough, because they haven't taken accountability for their actions and what they've done. and they haven't ensured us that it's never going to happen again. >> alfonsi: in a statement to "60 minutes," the new president and c.e.o. of u.s.a. gymnastics
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said, "we recognize how deeply we have broken the trust of our athletes and community, and are working hard to build that trust back." as the tokyo olympics draw closer, no one may be working harder than simone biles. she's the only athlete affected by the scandal who is still active. she's carrying american gymnastics on her sculpted shoulders. but this time, she told us, she's competing for herself. talk to anybody in the sport, nobody agrees on anything, but they all agree you're the greatest. >> biles: ( laughs ) >> alfonsi: greatest that's ever been, greatest that will be. so why go back and put yourself through all this agony again for another year? >> biles: because i had fun. but now i'm having a lot of fun. ( laughs ) so i feel like i want to see how much i'm capable of. and people always question, like, "if you're so good and you're so ahead of the game, why do you keep upgrading?" and it's like, because it's for me. >> alfonsi: and because you can! ( laughs ) >> biles: yeah, and, and i can. ( laughs ) ( ticking )
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