Around 6:30 a.m. on May 28, 2021, a couple of miles from Belle Garden Beach on the Caribbean island of Tobago, a narrow white-and-blue boat drifted onto the horizon.

As it wobbled back and forth, fish gathered, feeding on the barnacles that had grown below the surface.

From a distance, it seemed no one was aboard. But as fishermen approached, they smelled death.

Inside were the decomposing bodies of more than a dozen Black men. No one knew where they were from, what brought them there, why they were aboard — and how or why they died. No one knew their names.

What is clear now, but wasn’t then, is this: