Louisiana Pettway Bendolph

Juan Arce2018

Souls Grown Deep

Souls Grown Deep
Atlanta, United States

Louisiana Bendolph in front of her great-grandmother, Annie E. Pettway's c. 1935 quilt.

"In 2002 my mom [Rita Mae Pettway] called and invited me to go with her to Houston for the opening of the 'Quilts of Gee’s Bend' exhibit. I had never been to a museum and didn’t know what to expect. When I got to my great-grandmother’s quilt, I cried. I cried to see our history and our past up on the walls, and realizing that 'Mama' had left a legacy. She was gone. We hadn’t forgotten her, but no one else in the world knew who she was. And then to see her quilt hanging on the wall, it was so beautiful. When she had died, she was just 'Mama,' but now she had been reborn as someone who people were respecting, and all of a sudden she was important to other people in a way she had only been to us."


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