Living Democracy

Ashby Henry discovers 'new home' in Camden

Less than a year ago, I did not know what the City of Camden was, I did not know anyone from Camden (except for the governor), and I could not have pointed it out on a map. Now, it is a place that I can call home. 

I visited Camden twice before I moved in for the summer of Living Democracy, and I quickly got the impression that the town was made up of good, kind, hardworking people. It is that and so much more. 

I have been welcomed as one of their own this summer, and I am so honored to have gotten to be a part of it, even for a little while. The people I met are smart, interesting, hardworking, genuine, and care deeply about their communities. 

Spending most of my time at Blackbelt Treasures, I got the privilege of getting to know the staff. 

I cannot thank my community partners, Sulynn Creswell and Kristin Law, enough. Their efforts to introduce me to the community, answer my questions, and suggestions on who to talk to were incredibly beneficial, and my internship would not have existed without them. 

My thanks also go to all those I interviewed, spoke to, or met. It was intimidating for me to move into a community I knew almost nothing about, without knowing anyone previously, but every step of the way I was greeted and welcomed by this community. I am so thankful for all those that I got to interview. I enjoyed the interactions I had and enjoyed getting to know new people. 

Those I spoke to may not have even realized the impact they made on me, simply my engaging in conversation or answering my many questions. 

Another person I must thank is Betty Anderson. I met Ms. Betty for the first time on my first visit to Camden last December. She took the time them to show my mother and I around her museum. Little did I know then the impact Ms. Betty and her museum would have on me. 

I chose to dedicate my project this summer and the proceeds received from it to Ms. Betty’s museum for an air conditioner. Ms. Betty has worked very hard over the years to accumulate, display, and maintain her Shoe Shoppe and Quilting Museum, though she is still without air conditioner. 

In observing how difficult the heat made it to comfortably maintain the museum and give tours, I decided this was a strong investment. The museum itself is full of local history, and a big lesson I learned this summer is how significant that history is. 

Personally, I had never considered West Alabama to be a historically and culturally significant part of the state. I knew very little about it. But constantly throughout the summer I learned that Wilcox County is such a treasure, as are the people there. Contributing to Ms. Betty’s museum was a small way for me to help preserve that history and beauty. 

I am so thankful for Ms. Betty. For her introducing me, allowing me to help her, and for becoming a friend. 

The investments you make are important, and I am so grateful I got the chance to know and to love Camden. Though I grew up only about an hour north of it, I learned about its differences and quirks, the challenges it faces, the people who live there, how they interact, and how they worship and how they live. 

Embarking on this summer I was very unsure of what it would bring. I am so grateful that it brought me a new place to call home.

 

 

 

June 30, 2017
Elba Chamber prepares for 'Let Freedom Ring' Celebration
Elba Chamber prepares for 'Let Freedom Ring' Celebration

The Elba Chamber of Commerce June 15 meeting focused on topics ranging from the upcoming Fourth of July celebration to serious concerns about housing and population. I learned more about the Elba community in this meeting. I saw their drive to enhance the town.

By Emily Vick
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VBS creates summer fun in Collinsville
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Vacation Bible School is a weeklong event hosted by various churches in Collinsville. It generally lasts around a week and draws in a lot of children as well as adults. The Liberty Hill Missionary Baptist Church Vacation Bible School, held this year from June 12-16, has the reputation of putting on an amazing program every summer. It attracts children and families from all over the community.

By Whitney Sutton
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Good news tops Thomaston Council agenda
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By Magnolia Wilson
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Local farmers 'Grow, Cook, Learn' as they serve community
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Would you want to know that the produce you are buying is healthy and free of pesticides and fertilizer? Greg and Carole Lolley are working to make that possible.  They are the owners and operators of Mayim Farms, an all-natural and pesticide-free crop farm. The couple, originally from Enterprise, came to Elba five years ago with a dream of starting their own natural farm.

By Emily Vick
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A Successful Saturday at Thomaston Farmers Market
A Successful Saturday at Thomaston Farmers Market

Sellers of produce, pepper jelly, homemade soap, baked goods and even catfish were happy to see their products sell quickly at the Farmers Market in Thomaston on Saturday, June 10. The market venue at the intersection of Highway 25 and 28 in the heart of Thomaston was created by the Auburn University School of Architecture’s Rural Studio in 2000. 

By Magnolia Wilson

By Ashby Henry
Last Updated: September 11, 2022