GEE’S BEND, (BOYKIN), WILCOX COUNTY, ALABAMA
Gee’s Bend was originally named for Joseph Gee, an early large land owner from Halifax County, North Carolina who settled here in 1816. Gee brought 18 African American slaves with him and established a cotton plantation within the bend. Later the name was changed to Boykin.
Resettlement program were taking place all over the United States to assist displaced farmers who lost their homes or faced severe poverty. The programs were part of the Roosevelt’s New Deal plans to bring people out of poverty from the Great Depression. In the face of Congressional criticism, in September 1937, was folded into a new body, the Farm Security Administration (FSA), which operated until 1946.
Gee’s Bend, Wilcox County, Alabama
Gee’s Bend became part of the was part of the Federal Government’s Resettlement Program in 1935 after a report in the 1930s described the poverty in the area.
Resettlement program were taking place all over the country to assist displaced farmers who lost their homes or faced severe poverty. The programs were part of the Roosevelt’s New Deal plans to bring people out of poverty from the Great Depression.
The RA worked with nearly 200 communities throughout the country.
In 1937, the Resettlement Program purchased the old Pettway plantation and two adjacent farms in Wilcox County, divided the land, and rented it to the tenants, who were the former African American slaves at the Pettway Plantation.
Below are some photographs taken in 1937 of Arthur Rothstein from the Library of Congress which reveal the conditions residents of Gees Bend were living in before the Federal Government assisted them.
Young girl at Gee’s Bend – name possibly Artelia Bendolph photo taken by Arthur Rothstein 1937
Gee’s Bend carrying water
Working in garden in 1937
Gee’s Bend curing meat in 1937
Gee’s Bend cabin in 1937
Gee’s Bend House in 1937
Lucy, former cook for the Pettways. Gees Bend, Alabama, 1937 Photograph taken by Arthur Rothstein
Home of the Pettways, occupied by African Americans in 1937 at Gees Bend, Alabama, photograph by Arthur Rothstein
John Henry Miller and family. Miller is foreman of the Pettway Plantation. Gees Bend, Alabama, photograph taken 1937 by Arthur Rothstein
Well at Gees Bend 1937
Boy hauling water
Descendants of Pettway slaves
Cabin with mud chimney 1937
Boy hauling water
Cabins on the Pettway Plantation. Gees Bend, Alabama, 1937, photographs by Arthur Rothstein