Gee’s Bend Quilters to speak at Library

Published 10:24 am Wednesday, February 21, 2024

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By Becky Nichols

Special to the Selma Times-Journal

Plan to join the Selma-Dallas County Public Library on Feb. 22 at noon as we celebrate our common cultural heritage in welcoming Gee’s Bend Quilters, Stella Mae Pettway and Emma Mooney Pettway.  

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The Gee’s Bend story is rich in history. The residents of Gee’s Bend are direct descendants of the enslaved people who worked the cotton plantation established in 1816 by Joseph Gee. After the Civil War, their ancestors remained on the plantation working as sharecroppers.

 In the 1930s, the price of cotton fell, and the community faced ruin. As part of its Depression-era intervention, the Federal Government purchased ten thousand acres of the former plantation and provided loans enabling residents to acquire and farm the land formerly worked by their ancestors. Unlike the residents of other tenant communities, who could be forced by economic circumstances to move—or who were sometimes evicted in retaliation for their efforts to achieve civil rights—the people of the Bend could retain their land and homes. 

Cultural traditions like quilt making were nourished by these continuities. The quilting industry now continues under the leadership of the Freedom Quilting Bee Legacy and is now an international passion.

We are honored to host these remarkable women and share fellowship and learning.

There will be opportunities for questions and discussion as well as audience participation! The Freedom Quilting Bee Legacy will bring items from our gift shop for sale; t-shirts, books, posters and mugs. All proceeds support the quilting program and strengthen the story of Gee’s Bend.

Tickets are $15 for lunch seats. Lunch begins at noon-12:20 p.m.The program will begin at 12:30 p.m. For information, call  the library 874 1725.