Girl at Gee's Bend, Gee's Bend, Alabama (Artelia Bendolph)
As a young photographer working for the Farm Security Administration (FSA), Arthur Rothstein captured this now iconic image of Artelia Bendolph in the remote Alabama hamlet of Gee’s Bend. Although assigned to document the extreme poverty of slave descendants who still worked for white landowners, Rothstein resists the familiar images of laborers in the fields. In this case, he records the portrait of a ten-year old girl, serious yet defiantly elegant in her pose and strikingly framed by the window of a log cabin. In response to these photographs, the community of Gee’s Bend received significant New Deal legislative aid from the Roosevelt administration.
-Ellen Alvord, Weatherbie Curator of Education and Academic Programs, Mount Holyoke College Art Museum (Sept. 2016)