It is with a heavy heart that I share these photographs from a trip to Selma a week after the tornado that devastated parts of Alabama and Georgia.
My first introduction to Selma was through visiting and painting her historic district during Selma’s annual pilgrimage. My time there has led to lifelong learning and friendships.
Selma residents are experiencing shock and loss unfathomable to most. This goes beyond individual losses; it’s the devastation of entire communities. The losses of centuries-old trees and homes, streets, sidewalks, parks, and cemeteries are irreplaceable losses to the historic-built environment. These historic places cannot be replaced but they can be repaired, rebuilt, replanted, and restored.
On Thursday I was scheduled to drive to Selma for a friend’s art reception. In a spirit of resilience and in the need to bring people in shock and grief together, the show went on! Some of my art students joined me in Selma and others packed my minivan full of disaster relief items.
While a minivan of supplies is a mere drop in the bucket, every little bit helps. This will take time, and there’s plenty of time to help! Visit this website to get involved with disaster relief in Selma. Toiletries, trash bags, gloves, batteries, water, food, and coats are being accepted at 214 Church Street. You can also volunteer to clean up. Call 334-872-1401 or 334-553-2333.
I am thinking of the families without roofs, without electricity and running water, without insurance, with injured loved ones and missing pets. I’m thinking of the generations of families who have called these neighborhoods home.
From one historic district to another, we grieve with Selma and extend our love, prayers, and support!
Amy Peterson O’Brien
Cahaba Homestead Heritage Foundation