This handsome photojournal offers a window into the traditional folkways
and rich cultural heritage of one of the South's most distinctive regions.
Immortalized in Sidney Lanier's poetry, the Chattahoochee
River forms in the hill country of northwest Georgia, near Brasstown Bald,
and flows southward to become a mighty southern river before it empties
into the Gulf of Mexico at Apalachicola, Florida. For 173 miles of its
mid-length it forms the border between Alabama and Georgia, draining a
watershed of 877,000 square miles and 18 counties between the two states.
As such, the lower Chattahoochee River Valley has been termed the geographical
center of the Deep South.
Fred Fussell has traveled and explored this area for more
than 25 years in his capacities as a museum curator, a folklorist, and
a historic preservationist. Camera in hand, mindfully ready to capture
the essence of the region, he has made a visual record of the places and
the people who perpetuate the music, the stories, and the crafts indigenous
to the lower Chattahoochee River Valley. Scenes of family reunions, sacred
harp singings, clog dancing, white oak basket weaving, fiddle playing,
gourd trees, folk pottery, yard whirligigs, bee keeping, county fairs,
canning and preserving, quilting, "syrup soppin's", Indian powwows, grave
decorations, roadside vendors, and blues balladeers-all portray the Chattahoochee
as a rich cultural corridor where folk expression plays a vital role.
From the blending of diverse peoples, a singular culture
has developed in the lower Chattahoochee River Valley that persists to
the present day-diverse, robust, and tradition proud. Published by the
Historic Chattahoochee Commission, A Chattahoochee Album is Fred
Fussell's personal tribute to the region, lovingly compiled to honor the
folklife and traditions of an enduring place and its people.