Photographed in Texas, barefoot in the kitchen
Let this be the start of I am the South and the South is me: Southern Portraits. 52 far to lofty of a goal since we've already passed a few. One for every week left in the year. 49 portraits to be exact. This is my story, once written, repeated again.
"The Texas sun has kissed my face. Muddy waters runs through my veins. The Bayou is where my people come from. Cajun/Creole is not just in my food and last name but it is in me. I am the generations of family members who have lived off the Louisiana land for decades. I am the Irish side of my family many care not to remember because it means we were slaves in Rural Mississippi/Arkansas. I am descendent of the great Virgina Colonel George Waller. I am Ann Eliza Walters. The girl in my family who passed as white and therefor escaped slavery to marry in North Carolina. And eventually lived in Texas as a "white woman". I am my Momma crying while watching "The Help" because it is her life story since she was named after the last child my Great Grandma raised for the "White Doctor" in town. I am my aunt walking down the streets of Greenville Mississippi hand in hand with my Momma and Grandma as the camera crews film her being the first black student to integrate her elementary school. I am my Father enduring Southern Louisiana summers as he worked the Oil Rigs on the Bayou so that he could pay for college. I am my Uncle Jeff who grew up picking cotton. I am my Paw Paw who rode on the back of the Ice Truck in the 1940's as an Ice Pick Boy delivering the contents to the families in Northern Mississippi. I am my Great Grandpa who left Mississippi to live in Rural Arkansas and be a sharecropper and provide for his family. I am my Grandma who left her home as a child in Rural Arkansas to attend school in Mississippi because the education system was better for black children. I am my Great Grandma's and their Choctaw and Cherokee heritage. I am the strong woman they raised me to be. I am the red dirt that stains my car as I drive the backboards. I am my Uncle piloting planes throughout the south as he sprayed the crops with Pesticides. I am my Uncle Jarvis as he proudly defended his country. I am my Uncle Dan who only works six months of the year driving trucks so that he is always home in the fall for hunting season. Texas raised me but the South made me.
I am the Aleshea
I am the South and the South is me."