In 1937, the United States Government Resettlement Program purchased the old Pettway plantation and two adjacent farms in Wilcox County, Alabama and divided the land, then rented it to the tenants. During the 1940s, many families at Gee’s Bend bought their farms from the government for an average of $1,400 each.
In 1937, Arthur Rothstein took photographs of Gee’s Bend and citizens in the area which can be seen here. Marion Post Wolcott returned in 1939 and took the photographs of the community after the Resettlement Program had helped the residents for two years. The only way to get to Gee’s Bend was to cross the river on the ferry operated by the 80-year old man in the photographs below.
Ferry to Gee’s Bend in 1939
Ferry in Water
Many changes had taken place in the community of Gee’s Bend in the two years since the federal government began to assist the residents including a new school building, additional teachers and new courses of study as seen by the photographs taken in 1939 by Marion Post Wolcott
Gee’s Bend School photo taken by M. P. Walcott 1939
Noon hour at new school building in 1939
This is a photo of the first grade, showing extremes in ages of pupils. Gee’s Bend, Alabama.
School – class in anatomy and hygiene
Below: the school’s junior cooperative store receives help and instructions in cooperative enterprises from a manager of the big project cooperative store. Gee’s Bend, Alabama
And new homes for many….
Nolan Pettway in 1939 home
Stories include; The Yazoo land fraud; daily life as an Alabama pioneer; the capture and arrest of Vice-president Aaro nBurr; the early life of William Barrentt Travis, hero of the Alamo; Description of Native Americans of early Alabama including the visit by Tecumseh; Treaties and building the first roads in Alabama.