The Gee’s Bend Quilt Mural Trail begins at the Freedom Quilting Bee. Ms. Patty Williams’s quilt “Medallion with Checkerboard Center” is the first piece that you will see. The second quilt, “Blocks and Stripes” is by Ms. Annie Mae Young. The third quilt is by Ms. Minnie Sue Coleman “Pig in a Pen.” At the stop sign turning toward the Gee’s Bend Ferry you will see quilt number four by Ms. Lottie Mooney called “Housetop” – Four Blocks or “Half Log Cabin” variation.
Down from the Quilter’s Collective you will find the fifth quilt made by Ms. Loretta Pettway called “Medallion.” The sixth quilt is by Ms. Mary Lee Bendolph and it is called “Housetop” variation. At the old school Ms. Ruthy Mosely’s quilt is displayed; it is called “Nine Patch.” You will then see the eight quilt which is another piece by Ms. Loretta Pettway called “Roman Stripes” variation of the local name is the “Crazy Quilt.” The ninth quilt is by Ms. Jessie T. Pettway called Bars and String – Pierced Columns. Coming around to the ferry you will find the tenth quilt by Ms. Alonzia Pettway called “Chinese Coins” variation.
Stop by the Chamber office in Camden a pick up a copy of the Quilt Mural Brochure.
(more on Gee’s Bend and the quilters)
Gee’s Bend is a small rural community located in a curve in the Alabama River in the northern part of Wilcox County, AL. Founded in the early 1800s, it was the site of cotton plantations. After the Civil War, the freed slaves became tenant farmers and founded an all-black community that was nearly isolated from the surrounding world.. Many of them eventually bought the farms from the government in the 1940s.
The women in the community created quilts as a means of supporting their families. These quilts were made using whatever materials were available. This group of ladies developed a distinctive, bold, and sophisticated quilting style based on traditional American (and African American) quilts, but with a geometric simplicity reminiscent of Amish quilts and modern art. The women of Gee’s Bend have passed their skills down through at least six generations and the tradition continues.
The Gee’s Bend community has become famous for its quilts. Dozens of quilts have toured America’s most important art museums including the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. Newsweek, National Public Radio’s Talk of the Nation, Art in America, CBS News Sunday Morning, PBS’s NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, the Martha Stewart Living television show, House and Garden, Oprah’s O magazine, and Country Home magazine are among the hundreds of print and broadcast media organizations that have celebrated the quilts and the history of this unique town. In August of 2006, a series of postage stamps were dedicated to the Quilters. This collection contains ten stamps. Each stamp contained the image of a Gee’s Bend Quilt.
During 2007-2008, ten large murals each containing a painting of one of the quilts from the U. S. Postage Stamp Collection, were created and placed along the route through the Gee’s Bend community (officially called Boykin, AL). Pictures of these murals are provided. In addition, pictures of the old Gee’s Bend Community House which is where the Gee’s Bend Quilters met and created their works of art are also provided.