Growing up as a "bender" in Gee's Bend was unlike anything today's children will ever see and know. Tinnie, the eldest sibling, along with her late sister Minnie, (the third of five) had to not only do the house chores along with their mother, but also had to take to the fields side by side with their brothers and father and prepare the ground for seasonal planting...only for months later to reap the harvest when the crops were ready....from sun up to sundown. It was then when their mother put some old shreds of fabric & clothes with a needle in their hands and had them to begin quilting little blocks.
From being used as a form of punishment to passing the time away, Tinnie and Minnie never dreamed that their "punishment" would one day hang in museums! Their grandfather and father were also astute businessmen in the community that allowed neighbors to shop in their garden and even allowed them to use "credit" they granted to them if funds were tight. Years later they bought the shares from the "shareholders" of the community to later form the family owned store, the "Boykin Mercantile Store". Tinnie, along with her brothers and sister, eventually moved to Bridgeport, Connecticut and lived for quite a few years where she received her LPN degree in Nursing and not long after the birth of her one and only daughter, Claudia, she decided to move back to Boykin (Gee's Bend) and there became a daycare owner and took over the operations of the mercantile store after the daycare was closed down. Minnie, who had a Bachelor and Masters Degrees, returned home and taught physical education and served as a "guidance counselor" for many children in the Wilcox County School System where she taught 25+ years. After retirement, she continued to keep the family land and livestock in place along with her brothers.
Both sisters hands were full (with enjoyment) by constantly producing quilts, wall arts and potholders for the company that bears their name in their quilt collection. The sisters said they know who has blessed them to see such a time in their lives taking place and He's the one who will make this great inheritance be a blessing for generations to come for the family after them.
Sadly, Minnie passed away in 2021. Minnie will be missed by all who knew and loved her. BBTCAC was blessed with our time spent with her and her beautiful quilting talent.