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.

 

 

 

August 5, 2020
Group hopes 'getting to know each other' can help ease racial divides
Group hopes 'getting to know each other' can help ease racial divides

Invited Wilcox County community members gathered on Thursday, July 9, to discuss their experiences with systemic racism and prejudice. 

By Amy Clark
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Harrison Carter reflects on his summer of living democracy
Harrison Carter reflects on his summer of living democracy

This summer has been quite the experience to say the least. It was full of unprecedented events and experiences that I never thought I would have. Like everyone else, I was taking the past five months day by day as it felt like the world was crumbling around us.

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Local organization ensures students have lunches
Local organization ensures students have lunches

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By Thomas Chapman
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Addison Peacock appreciates living democracy virtually
Addison Peacock appreciates living democracy virtually

Summer 2020 is one the world is not likely to forget anytime soon. Our world is dealing with issues like racial tension, civil rights violations, and a pandemic. These global issues are also permeating our personal lives, changing things as simple as our daily routine and as complex as our views of community and leadership.

By Addison Peacock
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Collinsville youth offer snapshot of community
Collinsville youth offer snapshot of community

This week, I asked some young people from Collinsville to send me pictures of a place in their town that they were proud of with a few sentences explaining why. 

By Addison Peacock

By Ashby Henry
Last Updated: September 11, 2022