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 27, 2019
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Savage is a Leroy, Alabama, native whose involvement in history-related projects began several years ago when she joined the Washington County Museum Board. Savage then started her own research on African American history in the area.
- By Melissa Dennis
- June 29, 2019
- Camden celebrates Juneteenth
Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States with events held across the nation on June 19. The celebration in Camden was the third year of this local family friendly and educational Juneteenth event. A large crowd gather for festivities that included music, guest speakers and food.
- By Laura Thompson
- June 28, 2019
- Elba set to celebrate Fourth of July
John Adams wrote that the signing of the Declaration "ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more." The city of Elba is doing its best to honor Adams' wishes and deliver a Fourth of July celebration with all the pomp and parade it can muster.
- By Jack West
- June 28, 2019
- Meals on Wheels trip opens eyes
The presence of food seems to be everywhere I go in Elba, whether that's a Chamber of Commerce meeting, church service or at the Giving Garden. I recently had an opportunity to explore another food service in Elba, one that delivers hot meals to people all over the community, when I joined up with the Meals on Wheels Team at the Elba Church of Christ.
- By Whitt Watts
- June 26, 2019
- Reading program celebrates Bicentennial
Children participating in the Collinsville Public Library summer reading program are celebrating Alabama’s Bicentennial every Tuesday in June.
By Ashby Henry
Last Updated: September 11, 2022