Gee’s Bend is a small rural community located in a curve in the Alabama River in the northern part of Wilcox County, AL. Founded in the early 1800s, it was the site of cotton plantations. After the Civil War, the freed slaves became tenant farmers and founded an all-black community that was nearly isolated from the surrounding world.. Many of the community members eventually bought the farms from the government in the 1940s.
The women in the community created quilts as a means of supporting their families. These quilts were made using whatever materials were available. This group of ladies developed a distinctive, bold, and sophisticated quilting style based on traditional American (and African American) quilts, but with a geometric simplicity reminiscent of Amish quilts and modern art. The women of Gee’s Bend have passed their skills down through at least six generations and the tradition continues.
The Gee’s Bend community has become famous for its quilts. Dozens of quilts have toured America’s most important art museums including the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. Newsweek, National Public Radio’s Talk of the Nation, Art in America, CBS News Sunday Morning, PBS’s NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, the Martha Stewart Living television show, House and Garden, Oprah’s O magazine, and Country Home magazine are among the hundreds of print and broadcast media organizations that have celebrated the quilts and the history of this unique town. In August of 2006, a series of postage stamps were dedicated to the Quilters. This collection contains ten stamps. Each stamp contained the image of a Gee’s Bend Quilt.
During 2007-2008, ten large murals each containing a painting of one of the quilts from the U. S. Postage Stamp Collection, were created and placed along the route through the Gee’s Bend community (officially called Boykin, AL).
CLICK HERE to access pictures of these murals and a picture of the old Gee’s Bend Community House which is where the Gee’s Bend Quilters met and created their works of art. The pictures are arranged in the order of the trail route. Each picture contains the name of the quilt and the quilter, the location of the mural and directions for getting to the mural. The last picture contains driving directions for the entire route.