On Sunday, January 20, three students and I had the honor of touring the Creek Stand AME Zion Church Cemetery and attending the church service. Shari Williams, local historian and volunteer director of The Ridge Interpretive Center in Macon County, greeted us and walked us through the informative exhibits on the church’s history. The display of copies of primary source documents helps visitors understand the importance of this church and community as a stopping point on the Old Federal Road and as a departure point for local men who were participants in the infamous Tuskegee syphilis experiment.
Pastor Katrina Love and the entire congregation welcomed our group, and we enjoyed a student presentation on the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr. near the end of the service. Creek Stand hospitality did not end with the service, however, and we enjoyed a lunch and conversation in the fellowship hall, followed by a walk through the cemetery. All of the members have family or friends buried in the cemetery, and the original church site is marked. The cemetery is one of two cemeteries in Macon County on the Alabama Historical Commission’s list of historic cemeteries.
We look forward to returning to the church to map the cemetery, and we will share our work with friends at the Clearfork Community Institute in Eagan, Tennessee when our course takes us to this former coal-mining community for a week of living and learning in the mountains over spring break.