Sculptor and University of Mobile instructor April Livingston spent much of the last year crafting a historical piece for a unique African-American community in Plateau. Her iron bust of Cudjoe Lewis, the last surviving African-born slave brought to the United States, will be dedicated at the Union Missionary Baptist Church (508 Bay Bridge Road) on Sunday, Feb. 12, 1-2 p.m.

A previous bust was stolen from the church, which sits near the foot of the Cochrane-Africatown Bridge, in 2002. When Livingston discovered the saga, she offered to make a replacement.

A GoFundMe campaign secured the project’s $5,000 costs in a month’s time. Livingston studied historical photos and film footage to craft something more expressive and lifelike than its predecessor. She used clay, then wax at Fairhope Foundry and finally poured it at Indian’s Sculpture Trails Outdoor Museum and Foundry.

Lewis was a passenger on the Clotilda, a ship filled with foreign captives that slipped into Mobile Bay in 1860, the cusp of the Civil War. Importation of slaves was illegal and the survivors eventually founded a tightknit community near Magazine Point called Africatown. Lewis was also a founding member of Union Missionary Baptist Church and worked as its caretaker almost until his death in 1935.

Livingston will also take care to prevent further theft: She will anchor and weld the bust into its base pedestal.

There will also be a display of historic photos and quilts at the event.


“Faces of Africa”
The History Museum of Mobile (111 S. Royal St.) unveils its latest exhibit, “Faces of Africa: A Mystical View of Tribal Heritage,” on Feb. 10 in the historic building that once served as city hall. It runs through July 31.

Award-winning artist Richard W. Jones painstakingly recreated the assembly of masks, murals and sculptures derived from 3,500 years of African tribal art and traditional beliefs. An array of pieces — from Nok head to Dogon dancers masks and on up to contemporary South African murals — will be in place.
Museum hours are Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, 1-5 p.m.

Entrance is $10, $7.50 for ages 13-17, $5 for ages 6-12 and free for ages 5 and younger.

For more information, contact Lori McDuffie, curator of collections, at [email protected], by phone at 251-208-7508 or go to museumofmobile.com.


Story of new historic journey
Local historian Ann Pond treats an audience to a virtual preview of Mobile’s new Mardi Gras Trail at a Feb. 9 gathering of the Historic Mobile Preservation Society. The event, at 300 Oakleigh Place, begins at 6 p.m.

Entrance is free for HMPS members and $10 for the general public.

For more information, call 251-432-1281.