In Celebration of a Legacy: The Traditional Arts of the Lower Chattahoochee Valley
University of Georgia Press, 1998 - Social Science - 128 pages
In Celebration of a Legacy presents an energetic portrait of traditional folkways. This new edition of George Mitchell’s collected photographs, interviews, songs, and field recordings makes this rich cultural heritage available to a new generation. Mitchell proves that the lower Chattahoochee Valley people “have something to dance about” and celebrates this “hotbed of great traditional Southern music . . . the only form of music that’s taken the entire world by storm.”
Through Mitchell’s eyes and ears, we experience the indomitable spirit of a community and a way of life that might otherwise have been undocumented. He recorded “Field hollers and drum beating . . . old time blues and fiddle tunes galore . . . spirituals and gospel . . . country and jazz.” The photographs capture lands and faces worn and strengthened by generations of hard work. A field of neatly baled hay faces a photograph of an array of prized possessions; a slippered foot stands firmly beside a “cornshick” mop; an old woman sits in a church pew with her eyes closed and arms spread wide. These images offer a glimpse into the lives and memories of the people Mitchell met.
In Celebration of a Legacy focuses on a community and the changing nature of tradition. Originally part of a 1981 arts festival and exhibition sponsored by the Columbus Museum, the Historic Chattahoochee Commission, and the National Endowment for the Arts, the reissued book and compact disc recordings command our attention today. Mitchell relates the preservation of art and culture in the lower Chattahoochee Valley to the wider world and calls us to a new awareness of our shared human legacy.