Ad Spot

Gee’s Bend quilters come to Demopolis

Gee’s Bend is probably the best-known place in Alabama that you may never find. It’s not on many maps, since it officially became known as Boykin in 1949, but the Wilcox County community located about 60 miles from Demopolis has a fame that surpasses geography.

Surrounded on all sides by a sharp bend in the Alabama River, Gee’s Bend is the home of some of the most famous quilts in the nation. On Thursday, Gee’s Bend came to Demopolis, as the quilters brought their quilts to exhibit and sell, told stories of their past and sang gospel favorites as part of the Demopolis Area Chamber of Commerce program “Sax in the City.”

“We started performing in 2000,” said China Pettway. “We went to Houston, Texas. We sang at the museum, and we started telling our stories. Back in the day when my mother was quilting, they would sit around the quilt and sing, they would pray and they would talk. It was so hard for them, back in those days, and when those ladies would get together, they told each other their problems. Just talking would help. It would soothe their minds.”

Pettway was one of 11 children who often went to bed hungry.

“It was a rough life, but I thank God for it,” she said. “Those were the good old days. God was getting us ready, making us go through those trials and tribulations, getting us ready for today. We go to so many places, and people treat us so nice, like they have here.”

The other quilters on stage — Florine Smith, Mary Ann Pettway and Reva Moseley — told similar stories of hard times growing up and how they got through them. They spoke about growing up without electricity and having to carry water to their homes.

The crowd on hand enjoyed the mix of songs and stories and took part in a question-and-answer session with the ladies when the performance was through.

According to the Web site www.quiltsofgeesbend.com, the community’s women developed a distinctive, bold and sophisticated quilting style based on traditional American and African-American styles. With a tradition handed down over at least six generations, the quilts of Gee’s Bend were presented in an exhibition in 2002 in the Museum of Fine Arts of Houston, “The Quilts of Gee’s Bend.” That exhibition was accompanied by two books, and the quilters have been featured in a documentary video and a double CD of Gee’s Bend gospel music from 1941 to 2002. In 2006, several of the quilts were featured in a collection of U.S. Postage Stamps.

Gee’s Bend is a place that exists more in legend than in latitude and longitude. It represents a time and lifetimes of simple needs and few resources. The quilts of Gee’s Bend are a culmination of struggles and heartaches, friendship and family. It is said that every quilt tells a story. The women of Gee’s Bend and their generations are the writers of that story.

Blackbelt Gazette

Smokin Jack’s named June Business of the Month

Blackbelt Gazette

Rebecca Crawford Marlowe

Blackbelt Gazette

Linden BOE members increase monthly pay by $100, discuss renovation projects

Blackbelt Gazette

Marengo County BOE discusses ESSER Funds for school district

Blackbelt Gazette

Demopolis resident grateful for Whitfield’s local medical facilities

News

Anthony Willis named superintendent of Demopolis City Schools

Blackbelt Gazette

Demopolis and Linden fire departments receive donations from WoodmenLife

Blackbelt Gazette

DACC announces 2020 Community Award winners

Blackbelt Gazette

The Mustard Seed named May Business of the Month

Blackbelt Gazette

Man who robbed Demopolis gun store in 2019 sentenced to five years in prison

Blackbelt Gazette

Demopolis Lady Tigers Softball wins one, drops one

Blackbelt Gazette

Marengo High Lady Tracksters claim 1-A Section 2 Track Championship

Blackbelt Gazette

Former West Alabama athlete shares journey to entertainment business

Blackbelt Gazette

Linden Board of Education discusses George P. Austin renovations, graduation

News

Linden City Council hears concerns from local delegates

Blackbelt Gazette

Marengo County Board of Education receives updates on school district

Blackbelt Gazette

Demopolis Girl Scouts troop chooses first responders as their 2021 Hometown Heroes

News

USJ names April Leaders of the Month

News

Virtual Worlds of Work Platform Scheduled to Launch Week of April 26th-30th

Blackbelt Gazette

Dr. James Stallworth Pack

Blackbelt Gazette

Charles Steele Partridge III

Blackbelt Gazette

Charles Dwight Parker

Blackbelt Gazette

Reginald Lee Thomasson

News

West Alabama athlete’s Hollywood football film opens June 4th