What Happened to Ben Raines And Joe Turner, And Where Are They Now?

What Happened to Ben Raines and Joe Turner, and Where Are They Now?

The documentary ‘Descendant,’ which can be found streaming on Netflix, is an intriguing look into the history of two villages located close to Mobile, Alabama: Africatown and Lewis Quarters. They are the descendants of those who were brought to the United States as enslaved Africans on the Clotilda in the year 1860, which was the last known voyage of a slave ship.

After it was said to have been torched and sunk in the Alabama River, the vessel was only a part of oral history and hearsay until 2019, when journalist Ben Raines and automotive firm owner Joe Turner came across the remnants of the legendary ship. This altered everything. Then, why don’t we inquire further about their past exploits as well as their current whereabouts.

Ben Raines
Ben Raines

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Who Are Ben Raines and Joe Turner?

Ben Raines is a film producer and environmental journalist who has won multiple awards for his work. He was born in Birmingham, Alabama, but his family moved to Oregon when he was just one year old. After graduating from New York University with a degree in cinematography, he relocated to Mobile, Alabama, to take a position as an environmental reporter for the Press-Register. In addition, he is the director of a number of films, some of which are titled “Alabama Eden,” “America’s Amazon,” and “The Underwater Forest.”

Ben was interested in finding out more about the wreckage of the Clotilda, and because he had already heard various stories about it from the locals, he decided to go and look for it himself. Joe Turner, proprietor of East Bay Automotive and Machine Shop Inc. in Daphne, Alabama, a general auto repair shop, provided assistance to him. The business specialises in automobiles. Since he was a teenager, he has had a strong passion for automobiles, and he attended the Southwest State Technical College in Mobile, Alabama, to study the functioning of automobiles. Joe launched his business in 1998, and it has since grown to become one of the most successful operations of its kind in the state of Alabama.

In January 2018, a storm brought on by the winter that hit North America forced the tides to drop, which made it possible for the claimed remnants of Clotilda to become visible in the lower Mobile-Tensaw Delta. Ben discovered a marking in the region that belonged to the Meaher family; Tim Meaher was the merchant who had imported the ship to the United States. Therefore, in April of 2018, Ben put together a team that collaborated with the University of Southern Mississippi. Together, they inspected the portion of the river known as 12 Mile Island, which had not been investigated during any of the previous expeditions looking for the wreckage.

Garry Lumbers, a Descendant of Clotilda Raines, Was Named Ben Raines.

Ben travelled to the Underwater Works Dive Shop with Joe and his crew in order to investigate the 11 wrecks that were eventually discovered by the team. In addition, the latter contributed in a substantial way during the search and assisted in documenting each step. Ben ultimately salvaged the first piece of the Clotilda on April 13, 2018, following weeks of intricate dives and exploration. This discovery validated the hypothesis that had been circulating for the previous 160 years. After then, the Alabama Historical Commission worked with SEARCH, Inc., a team of maritime archaeologists who are experts in shipwrecks, to validate the findings of the journalist.

After conducting an in-depth investigation for a whole year behind closed doors, the commission finally made the remains public in May of 2019. A ground-breaking discovery that altered the path of African American history in Alabama was made possible as a direct result of the laborious efforts of Ben and Joe. It contributed to the development of the story by providing the people living in Africatown and the places around it with a piece of their heritage. The Clotilda was the very last slave ship that is believed to have arrived in the United States. The descendants of the people who survived the journey were overjoyed to learn about this previously unknown element of their family history.

Where is Ben Raines at This Current Time?

Ben Raines got a lot of acclaim for his contribution to the study of enslaved people in the United States as a result of the fact that he was the first person to uncover the shipwreck of the Clotilda. His book, titled “The Last Slave Ship: The True Story of How Clotilda Was Found, Her Descendants, and an Extraordinary Reckoning,” published in 2022, dives into the history of Clotilda’s survivors as well as his trip uncovering the ship’s remnants. He also recounts an extraordinary reckoning.

In addition, Ben has presented his study and conclusions to a number of well-known media outlets, such as National Geographic, The Los Angeles Times, and the Smithsonian National Museum. In the process of establishing the Africatown Heritage House Museum, he is actively involved with the community members of Africatown as well as groups such as the Clotilda Descendants Association. In addition to the book, Ben is the director of the documentary “Carnivorous Kingdom,” which examines the characteristics of carnivorous plants and how they function in the environment. The journalist focuses on environmental issues, and he and his wife currently make their home in Fairhope, Alabama.

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Where Can I Find Joe Turner at This Time?

Joe Turner was an unsung hero who played a crucial part in the search for Clotilda’s remains. He also guided Ben and the team through the treacherous waters with his extensive knowledge of automobiles and offered them aid. Not only that, but he also chronicled their experiences through the use of his accurate photographs, which enabled the researchers to match the results with the material that had been gathered in the past. As of the year 2018, Joe and his family continue to make their home in Fairhope, where he also has a full-time job with a tree service company. He still stops by his auto repair shop in Daphne on occasion to provide a hand to his son Alex, who now runs the company in his father’s absence.

Ben Raines
Ben Raines

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Career of Joe Turner

Turner performing in Ezra in the year 1972

In the 1960s, Turner showed an interest in music for the first time. As he was growing up in an Italian-American household, he was exposed to the music of Italian and American crooners like Frank Sinatra and Enrico Caruso.  While he was still in high school, he established the band Ezra, which played both original music and cover tunes. As a child, he was skilled on the accordion, and in his early teenage years, he taught himself to play the guitar. At one time, musicians like Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, and Free were the primary sources of inspiration for him.

In 1977, Turner became a member of the rock band Fandango, who soon after earned a recording contract with RCA Records.

Turner contributed vocals and guitar work to all four of the band’s albums.

 The Allman Brothers Band, The Marshall Tucker Band, The Beach Boys, and Billy Joel are just a few of the musicians that Fandango has shared the stage with while on tour.


Following the dissolution of Fandango, he was contacted over the phone by the British guitarist Ritchie Blackmore.

As a direct consequence of this, an audition was held, and after it, Turner was quickly recruited by Rainbow.

Although the band was well-known in Europe and Japan, they had not yet accomplished the same level of success in the United States.

Turner brought a pop sensibility to the band, which helped to Rainbow’s popularity in the United States. In the early to middle of the 1980s, a number of tracks from albums that Turner was a part of entered the Top 20 on rock radio charts. “Stone Cold” became Rainbow’s first Top 40 success, and MTV began playing the band’s videos in heavy rotation shortly after the song’s release. Difficult to Cure, Straight Between the Eyes, and Bent Out of Shape are the three studio albums that Turner has released with Rainbow. “Street of Dreams” was the lead single from the album Bent Out of Shape. In 1984, Rainbow called it quits.

Solo (1980s) (1980s)

After Rainbow disbanded in 1985, Joe Lynn Turner released his debut solo album, titled Rescue You. The album was produced by Roy Thomas Baker, who is best known for his work with Queen and The Cars. The majority of the tracks were co-written by him and keyboardist Al Greenwood (Foreigner). The debut single, “Endlessly,” was played extensively on radio and MTV stations across the country. After that, he went on tour with Night Ranger and Pat Benatar, and he also had a role in the television movie Blue Deville.

Additionally, in the year 1987, Turner contributed backing vocals to the album “The Hunger” by Michael Bolton. His appearances can be heard on the songs “Hot Love” and “Gina.”

The next year, in 1987, he became a member of Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force and contributed to the recording of the album Odyssey.

Immediately after the album was published, the band went on a short tour, during which they played a show in Leningrad that was later released as a live CD titled Trial by Fire (1989). Later on in that year, he parted ways with the band.

Deep Purple

Turner was asked to join both Bad Company and Foreigner,[8] but he decided instead to join Deep Purple instead of either of those bands.

 Turner only released one studio album, which was titled Slaves and Masters (1990).

The album reached its highest position on the Billboard 200 at number 87, and the band went on a fairly successful tour the following year. However, Turner parted ways with the band in late 1992.

In addition, he has recorded and released three albums under the moniker Mother’s Army, which is a progressive rock band featuring Jeff Watson, Bob Daisley, and Carmine Appice.

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