Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Black Belt Christmas

What a wonderful world! All of the region has enjoyed Michael Goldsmith's (Mickey) glorious display of lights for years. As I stood on the property and spoke with Mickey's best friend, numbers of parents with their children came to see the magical lights, a visual wonderland. This is probably the last year it will be on display at this corner. I am sad to say that Mickey passed away. One can sign the tribute board to him and read the news article in his honor. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Black Belt Books

Take a Book/Return a Book says the sign on this free library encased in a cabinet on a main street of the Black Belt region.  What a great idea for anyone who wants to read.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

You're in the South!

Where else could you pet a well groomed goat, pick cotton, and tap your toe to live gospel music all in a 24 hour period?

How can you explain the friendly atmosphere of a festival full of people as they sell their wares and have one vendor agree to come to your farm and teach you to raise bees?

How long has it been since you have seen men of faith distributing Gideon Bibles to anyone interested, and the local church giving out free bottled water?

And last but not least, how fun is it to see several art and photo contests, watch girls win crowns as they become festival queens, and applaud the banana pudding for winning first place in the "sweets" competition?

It's simple! You're in the south!

Highlights of the weekend:

Meeting Greta at the Eclectic Library which still has jail cell bars from days gone by and Kathryn Windham Tucker's books have their place of importance. The library has a special room for books written by Alabamians only and Greta promised me my own library card.

The pig race at the Alabama National Fair

Picking the perfect cotton on highway 14 for a new 2012 photo

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Precious Letters from the Black Belt

Fall is right around the corner, and is the time I start thinking about delivering blankets and books. As I look back on the past few years, I love to pull out the letters of thanks I have received.  Of course, each one is truly a letter to those who have been so gracious to give me items to take. My closet is full of blankets, toys, books, and fabrics to give out. I am excited about making a plan for delivery this year. Don't forget to give to those around you who might need a little help. Often times you don't have to look far!

 A photo of parts of 5 letters I have received is included.

"but blessed is he who is kind to the needy" Proverbs 14:21b, NIV

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Walking the streets, the peddler was selling books for $2. All proceeds went to the shelter where this lady was actually the cook. Having heard about this book, I loved the title and purchased it on the spot. The "peddler" took me inside the dark and dingy home for the homeless. Once again, my eyes stung with tears and heart overflowed with sadness for the condition of the people inside.

Sunday, June 10, 2012


On my last road trip I found this house again for the fourth time. The porch scene changes from year to year and this may be the saddest image of all!  As the poster says, Do we really want to know? I spoke with the guy on the right and his situation is dreary. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Ms. Edna

Every time I rounded the corner I noticed a woman sitting on her porch. Finally one afternoon I pulled into her yard (there was no driveway) and made my approach. The house was literally falling apart but was painted bright yellow and bade my visit. As always, I am never surprised at Alabama hospitality and Ms. Edna and I became instant friends. In her nineties, and in a wheel chair, she seemed self-sufficient. Her best friend was usually there keeping her company and making sure she had food and companionship. She had no children of her own for she had spent most of her life "raising"  white folks' kids. I decided I would check on her as often as I was in the area and of course brought her a beautiful blanket.

One can imagine my concern when I rounded the corner one day and only her wheel chair was on the porch. I was relieved to find out she was in a local nursing home, right where she belonged. I went by to see her, asking what I could bring and her greatest need was casual long sleeved blouses and warm socks. Did you know you can go to Wal-Mart and find great lady's tops for $5. I look forward to getting back to see her soon. She has made my life richer just hearing her life stories.

Day of Caring

Thank you Ann, for sending this article on the volunteer work being done in Alabama to help those who need it! 

Monday, March 26, 2012

A Letter to Oprah

Oprah Winfrey
Oprah’s Angel Network
P.O. Box 96600
Chicago, IL 60693
Friday, March 23, 2012
Dear Ms Winfrey,
I am a freelance photographer who travels the Southern backroads, meets people, and documents poverty. I blog about some of my encounters and many of these people ask me to help them. My very small ministry is taking blankets to the less fortunate. A guy in one of my photos froze to death a few years ago, and I feel no one in America should go to bed cold.
During December last year, after doing some research, I made my destination Africa Town, Mobile, Alabama. Being an Alabama girl, I was surprised I had never heard of it. Little did I know where this adventure would lead and I found myself inside one of the oldest homes in the area with 85 year old Lottie Watts. I sat at the foot of her bed and heard her story. She had a personal birthday card from President Obama but when I asked her what I could do, she asked that I contact you to help her. Her tiny home is in deep disrepair and she loves to entertain guests from her bed. Hospitality has been her life for both homeless and needy people. I wish I had the money to help her, but at least I have a voice to make a plea for her.
Rather than ramble on further, please let me know if you would be interested in contacting her and I will give you her info. She is precious and I DO mean precious. I know this is a cry in the dark but she is waiting. 
Sincerely yours,
Vicki Wilson Hunt

Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Blanket for Doris's Husband

Our getaway farm is on a dirt road deep in the heart of Dixie. It's a log cabin tucked away between two bamboo forests. Its comforts are endless....a front porch with 2 swings, starry nights, a 3 acre front yard paradise for wildflowers (and weeds), a birdhouse where a hawk perches in hopes of prey, dogs romping and chasing rabbits and squirrels, peace and calm. It sounds great, but to get to it one must go through poverty stricken areas, and just around the corner people have great needs.

I save clothes from our own closets as well as take good used clothing from other sources to give to one of my favorite black families in our area. On one occasion all 5 of us ladies were up on their front porch as I gave clothes right out of my trunk and each lady claimed her "pile". I visited last week with some gentlemen's suits since I know how their community dresses 'up' for church. These items were especially for her husband. As they all came out to greet me, their faces were grief stricken since they had just learned their husband/father had lung cancer...No chemo was offered. It was an awkward moment. I did not linger but let them have their special time with him.

It's spring weather in Dixie, with not many needs for blankets right now, but I gave one anyway that day. Nights are still cool and a new fresh navy blue blanket seemed to be my best gift to the husband.  Thank you again to my girlfriends for providing the blankets.  

Monday, February 20, 2012

Blankets Needed

February 20, 2012
Miss ---------------
Dear Miss -------------,
Hello! Let me introduce myself as a rural South photographer, who travels the backroads, meeting people in the deep South. I am often faced with sorrow as I talk to people in poverty whose needs are so vast it is overwhelming. Several years ago I decide to help where I could and after one of the guys in a photo I took died from freezing to death, I decided to have a blankets ministry. For 2 years I have distributed a minimal number of blankets given to me by the First Lady Patsy Riley of Alabama, and last year given by several girlfriends whose hearts were stirred as they saw some of my photos. You might want to check out my Southern Journal/Encounters on my website,
Last year in some of my travels, I stayed at ----------- Hotels and began to wonder what happens to the used up bedding when -------- decides to refurbish rooms. It’s just an idea, but would you consider making a plea to anyone in corporate  to contribute discarded blankets for my cause.
Sincerely yours,
Vicki Wilson Hunt

Monday, January 2, 2012

Africa Town

Africa Town is worthy of googling and finding out more about this history rich area of Dixie. I am privileged to have had an encounter with the lady who owns the oldest house in the area. Her warm personality and hospitality confirmed my curious pursuit of making this my destination over the Christmas season. I found myself at the foot of her bed, (she is 85) absorbing her story, photographing her and taking with me a taped version of her life and personal needs. I also took with me some of her simple requests for improved living in this area.  Although I love traveling the Black Belt region, there is so much to be learned about my entire state, and so many people to "get to know".