Episode 23: Historic Oakleigh House Museum

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By Ayla Anderson. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

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This week we are at the Historic Oakleigh House Museum in Mobile, Alabama. We speak with Marye Newman and Paula Lenor Web and learn about two significant works of art housed at the museum, which was built in 1833 on what was the outskirts of Mobile.

Man in Brown Hat

The first artifact is a painting created by Emma Langdon Roche called “Man in Brown Hat”. Much at the name implies, this painting is of a man in a brown hat, but who was he? Mobile was the site of the last known slaving voyage from Africa. It was an illegal voyage in 1860 where 110 West Africans (primarily from Ghana) were smuggled into the South on the vessel Clotilda. They were soon freed when slavery finally became illegal in the States and most stayed in the local area, creating Africa Town. Emma Roche worked closely with these individuals, learning from them and even publishing their story in her book “Historic Sketches of the South”. (Click here to read it online) Roche often interviewed the founder of Africa Town, Cudjo Kazoola Lewis, and it is speculated by many that the “Man in Brown Hat” is actually Cudjo. You can see the comparison below with the painting and the photograph of Abaché and Cudjoe Kazoola Lewis at Africatown in the 1910s.

Miss Octavia Walton of Pensacola, Florida

The second artifact is an impressive painting created by Thomas Sully of Miss Octavia. This beautifull painted snapshot shows us but a glimpse of the intriguing and historic life of Madam Octavia Walton LeVert. No one describes her better than Paula Lenor Web, who wrote “Such a Woman-The Life of Madam Octavia Walton LeVert”. Paula shares with us the impact of this iconic Southern Belle and some fun snippets of her life, such as a poem dedicated to her by Edgar Allen Poe!
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