Deep in Alabama’s Black Belt, the village of Gee’s Bend is almost an island, cut off by a loop in the Alabama River. Once enslaved plantation workers, then sharecroppers, the people of the Bend remained largely unnoticed by mainstream history. But the women of Gee’s Bend have held on to their creative traditions, passed down from mother to daughter: with spine-tingling gospel singing,
and a unique style of bold and improvised quilting. Made from old clothes out of necessity for generations, used for insulation and burned to keep off mosquitoes, the quilts brought Gee’s Bend fame after they were “discovered” by an art collector in the 1990s and shown in major museums in Houston and New York.
There is a secret map passed down from hobo to hobo.You can’t buy it in stores or download it online but if you’re lucky enough to get a copy you can travel anywhere in America by freight train, all for “low or no dollars”. They call it The Crew Change Guide
Lee Stringer was living on the street when he began selling ‘Street News’, he discovered a talent for writing and went on to be a columnist and then editor of the paper. Lee felt living on the streets made him a better writer. He became a successful authour as a result of the chance he was given at Street News
In search of a long-lost quilt her relative Martha Ann Erskine Ricks made for the British Queen Victoria. How did a former slave come to meet the most powerful woman in the world 125 years ago? We also explore Martha’s life in Liberia, west Africa, where she made her home after moving from the US. Newspapers of the time followed in great detail the story of the ‘queen and the negress’ and her hand-stitched quilt in the design of a coffee tree. And Aunt Martha – as she is respectfully known – made such an impression on Queen Victoria that she noted in her diary of 16 July 1892 that she had a ‘kind face’. But where is the Coffee Tree quilt today?
The untold story of Abood Hamam, perhaps the only photojournalist to have worked under every major force in Syria’s war and lived to tell the tale. At the start of the uprising he was head of photography for the state news agency, SANA, taking official shots of President Assad and his wife Asma by day and secretly filming opposition attacks by night. Later he defected and returned to his home town, Raqqa, where various rebel groups were competing for control. Other journalists fled when the terrorists of so-called Islamic State (IS) took over, but Abood stayed and was asked by IS to film its victory parade.
He sent pictures of life under IS to agencies all over the world using a pseudonym. As the bombing campaign by the anti-IS coalition intensified, Abood moved away but returned later to record the heartbreaking destruction but also the slow return of life and colour to the streets. For months, he roamed through the ruins with his camera, seeing himself as ‘the guardian of the city.’ Raqqa’s future is still very uncertain but Abood now wants everyone to see his pictures, which he posts on Facebook and know his real name. He hopes the colours he’s showing will tempt the thousands of families who’ve fled Raqqa to return home andrebuild their lives and their city.