African-born Gilbert Fields was a slave in antebellum Georgia who decided to lead his family to freedom. When weather conditions led to navigational errors, the group of runaway slaves found themselves heading southward where they found refuge with Florida’s Seminole tribe. Later they joined a community of free blacks in Mobile.

Mobile writer Frye Gaillard first heard this tale decades ago from an old friend and has expanded it into the novel “Go South to Freedom.” The author will introduce attendees to the story, the people it brings to life and his process for completing publication in the Oct. 5 Learning Lunch at the History Museum of Mobile (111 S. Royal St.) at noon.

Attendees are invited to bring their own lunch and enjoy complimentary beverages. Admission is free.

For more information, call Jennifer Fondren at 251-208-7510 or email her at

Ardith Goodwin new Throwdown champion
Early numbers are in from the Mobile Arts Council’s Art Throwdown fundraiser on Sept. 15 at the Alabama Contemporary Art Center. Though they were still waiting on funds from some of the auction winners, the general net is about $20,000 according to MAC Interim Executive Director Hillary Anaya.

About 258 attendees were on hand, just a slight uptick from last year’s version. In a welcome shift, most of those ticket sales were in advance with only 25 or so purchased the day of the event.

The winning artist for the main event was Ardith Goodwin whose impromptu piece created in a scant 90 minutes sold for $1,150 to Robin Roberts. Sculptor Josh Ashley placed second with a $900 bid.

Deathly display for Oakleigh October
In modern times, the death of a loved one involves an entire industry built around the inevitable end of life. Everything from embalming to professional facilities has been tailored by professionals.

However centuries ago, it mainly pressed into service the immediate family and their living quarters. The dearly departed spent a last night or two at home before heading off for interment.

Oakleigh House and Museum (300 Oakleigh Place) take visitors to the middle of a Victorian parlor funeral in October. They will cover mourning customs and rituals in 1856 Mobile.

Afternoon tours begin at 3 p.m. daily, except Sunday and Wednesday. Candlelight tours are offered every Friday at 7 p.m. in October.

Admission is $12 for afternoon, $20 for evening tours.

For more information, call 251-432-1281.