Posted at 6:43 pm , on January 2, 2019
Clementine Hunter was born on Hidden Hill Plantation in 1886. At the age of 15, she moved to Melrose Plantation, just south of Natchitoches, Louisiana where she picked cotton and pecans in the 1920s and eventually became a domestic worker.
Clementine had spent much of her life laboring in fields but when she arrived at Melrose, she discovered paints and brushes left behind by a visiting artist. Clementine began “marking a picture” (her description of painting). Inside her cabin on the ground of Melrose, she “marked pictures” with scenes of plantation life including picking cotton, gathering pecans, washing clothes, ceremonial baptisms and funeral scenes. Clementine always used discarded items as her canvas including window shades, cardboard boxes, jugs, bottles and gourds.
Posted at 9:20 pm , on April 2, 2018
For over 10 years I’ve had “Visit Gee’s Bend” on my Explore the South bucket list. And this week, I marked that item off my bucket list! While vacationing in my home state of Alabama, I was joined by my mom as we drove from Birmingham to the Black Belt region of the state to Gee’s Bend (known now as Boykin, Alabama). Gee’s Bend is a large bend in the Alabama River. There are about 700 residents in this small, remote, community and most are descendants of slaves. Few people have ever moved out of Gee’s Bend and few have ever moved in. This community has overcome hard times again and again. You can read the history of Gee’s Bend here so you can understand why the residents have such vivid stories to tell through their quilts.
Posted at 3:58 pm , on April 2, 2018
Just north of Vicksburg, Mississippi, off Hwy 61, you’ll find the ruins of man’s expression of love for his wife, Margaret. It’s still known as Margaret’s Grocery. Margaret’s first husband was shot dead in the market during a robbery in the 1970s. Five years later she met and married Reverend H.D. Dennis who promised her that he would make a castle out of her grocery store if she married him. They transformed the store into a folk art ministry, including a school bus retrofitted into a chapel. The Reverend and Margaret have passed away and since their deaths the store has fallen into disrepair.