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The Founding of Gee's Bend

On the edge of the Black Belt Region in Wilcox County, Gee's Bend (or Boykin) is a block of land enclosed on three sides by the massive "bend" in the Alabama River. Because of the isolation of Gee's Bend and an unreliable ferry (later removed in the 1960s), residents couldn't travel to where they needed to go.

Founded by the Gee family in the early 1800s, the plantation was later sold to Mark Pettway in 1845, and since many of the black slaves lived on the grounds and worked in the fields for Pettway, they eventually took his last name. The white Pettways sold the plantation in the latter 1800s, and the 700+ descendants have since rented or sharecropped the land from its successive owners. This rural community known for its farming, fishing, hunting, and civil rights involvement is now more recently recognized for its Quilting.

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