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ms bee he has been every year in the rules of summer breeze a season of church fellowships some folks called decoration day a time when
family members visit country cemeteries to remember their ancestors others attend homecoming services to hear ol fashion preaching and swap stories about the good old days and these traditions of faith's serving common purpose it means the spirit and serve as a reminder that the road to what we see in life is often the sign road that leads us now it's been as a child desperation they've been more like a holiday in there in a very beautiful time of the year in fact you know
hal smells bring back memories of pinkerton a thing every time i smell strong scent of honeysuckles i think a declaration days and i think oh you know sweetie and dinner on the ground and church organs decoration day the name given to an annual ritual unique to country cemeteries each community chooses a specific sunday to serve as decoration day then on the same sunday of the same month every year home folks return to their birthplace for a day of picnics singing and socializing most to attend have been doing so for as long as they can recall well maurice remembers the decoration here are very you can ride in concord called the woods here and we'll dance whores the house and posada more than she was home when you were says how do
you think about that comment even today most still occur in may reflecting the traditions roots in the farm cycle of life when late spring meant that roads were passable and flowers were plentiful but the beginnings of his customers are not so evident well we haven't determined the exact origins of decoration day or connection to a specific a world tradition or an american indian traditions so one possible explanation would be that this is a blending of the three cultures that form the self the indians the africans and the europeans and to get into a functional tradition one that took care of the landscape all at a certain time of the year and also function as a social mechanism for bringing the community together and reinforcing family ties before this sunday's celebration
families began gathering on saturday to visit with each other and atlanta their family wants most of the activity center around campo bringing flowers and decorating their loved one's grapes liver function a decoration day has changed over the last hundred years i think originally it was a ritual maintenance of the graveyard sofa landscape because a large workforce slated to tequila the graveyard looking trail and now of course a cemetery sorrow alone grass instead of bearer tara maintained through a perpetual care find support but but still that social aspect is very important to people come and they meet relatives were devotional activities
and so i feel like it still unknown what she lives some this day like they know what we're going to they may was always so used to legal just wanna keep up the tradition by sunday morning the graveyard is filled with colorful arrangements a fitting backdrop for the day's activities relatives wandered through the monuments to admire the flowers and recall their history as a child of nice thing is not being able to stay in the church not having to stay in the church or service available to get out and roll i'd like to explore the graveyard usually that wasn't always singing going on in the church both before and after the meal and i would like to explore the graveyard and it was a way for me to learn about my ancestors through reading the tombstones people that i've ever known and then of course older relatives would come to me
and tell me about the people who were very very into in the graveyard and when you get that a lot of people doing that at the same time you get a sort of a phenomenon where are we setting for things like family reunions and educational activities for young people to learn about their districts were you and colleen in the lyrics so long and the older i get the more we know about it so i think that if you know what you're looking for in a cemetery you can learn a lot about a community and how that community has changed for example and traditional
graveyards unlike say a commercial senator you can read it liked the reins on the tree there is strictly for irrigation and so i'm in the middle of this and the very loosely on the highest point of the oldest drivers use their super curious things of that nature the styles of them on and as you grow out where you can see the structure of the community you can see racial segregation that there are blacks and whites in the same committee you can see family groupings decoration day provides a chance for family members to reflect on their heritage and it's likely that those who now visit the cemetery to honor their players who'll indeed be remembered themselves one day when their descendents come to pay respects to recall stories of their lives and to pass that history down to another generation i expect to be good to their wares are online already arrived there it was a lovely very vera
will be beard were people calm and paul and live from the canal that time thank you thank you well this is all about going up they are amateurs playing for them if we sold this assignment is socially for a long time and i know most of people and opinions about a full beard you might come in look we know what they're focused more even families were even if a nearby this is not but i am people i am with whale we're still in the first inning and it had probably one and that's certainly year would you know start they did
and then we lived here and went to michigan in the med team of fifty one we come back and you would keep up the cemetery works with christine in cemeteries where these traditional claims are still practiced families visit the graveyard the day before homecoming or decoration sunday they come prepared with hoes to remove the weeds and rights described the graves calling the end each grave is carefully mounted with fresh sand so it resembles a new grave site it's bishop well we we put the cy young and rory and mopping and as michael moved to an also vying for the grave somewhere women a lot of the
summit the two churches that don't go like wine grapes on a woman might play out and now what we hear now that we stay you know come out going to raise with that was lionel hampton mostly prevent the greatest role when but in the them across as it might end with me while cemetery workdays are still well supported in some areas they were once more widely attended some worry that this ritual of remembering ones people may one day be forgotten itself well it's kind of a dying tradition i know when i first came here for chicago when i came here the page particular that age and for four royals or that they came out and more but many of those is only for still a fateful few come back every year
to pay their respects and even though its hard work these descendants of pioneer farmers out in their native soil with a quiet devotion that suggest the reasons why they carry on sometimes coming to send to avery steck the motions that i haven't failed you know when i'm away from our mother that one of story and so we've been going to sell somewhere around there they are very close to the mass like oh that is you know one out like about don't come out like about oil but video that these people are when he winced when he placed a place that might do when they just appear to have to
me on sunday the community turns out in force for the church's homecoming celebration which begins with a special service it's good to see this number here today we always enjoyed homecoming are specially gets a lot out people that i haven't software year you know many friends we might through the years and it's always enjoys listen lee and i know it is the meaning of beauty and so we want to assure they like you feel throughout the morning folks around with bouquets of flowers in baskets of food those who don't go in the church house and i sit outside and visit with friends or some i just admire the graveyard now dressed as nicely as the sun the congregation in the meantime preparation is made for the event that everyone looks forward to most dinner on the grounds long tables permanently
situated outside under the trees or an architectural feature identifying churches that participate in these traditions when the service and turns the tables are set and each person is encouraged to borrow from everything that dinner on the grass isn't just after its apartheid day set aside is specially for fellowship lawyers are tremendous most people call me just by the reporter this is just a very calm kenny as this occasion but we've known to gather to justify million by keeping very smart people because i have been the church's traditions that
the people they still come back and enjoy the date is set for their part of their church at eighty eight i mean religious people from the work you need to go to church it was just the imperative
that you would come home and remember your roots get involved in them what made you from this place to begin we if you were brought up in the church and then they would try and then they would walk in common to church we're shipping and praising and celebrating once a year rule congregations together on homecoming day to remember their church history and its importance that even the scaled in the somali town has come home to call my relatives are coming back to their church home gives the listeners to suggest to consider their spiritual roots as well you know what we get to feel the automobile needs a tone up a nice feeling so there's the body images do you do to come back in and get from where you started it in an and began to move forward so it all in all i would say a region at it as a result of summer activities and families come together because that was vacation time that was
fellowship that was worshiping for us battle though they say they wouldn't have a place to go like they have not you had a lab located just about that will vote they really going to check she's since the days of horses and wagons nowadays instead of funeral home finance massive air conditioner school hundred year old church as the always a rule issue and modern technology are integrated in an effort to say declining congregations the queen in hamlet who thinks speak directly here's him the drones no drone the head pm last are here but those on his collection that was you and before day and eighty to promote senate and we have a ton of ohio we come at an athlete he and the
written portion of new book the song in the south keeping time to the only humans are not the only proposed these instruments or they don't give a modern voice to an ancient spirituality is a simple style of worship and song born into slavery or are over the years that form has adapted to outlive the conditions that produced it it is both alex davies goal this is if you use more individualized now
and has time prices on just put anything else we tend to drift away from what used to be as for is the values that the project as for as the fellowship named i hope i think that in itself were planted diminish i hate to say that because i have seen the change we will observe it as a new what they are remembering some of the significance of that we used in and displayed at that point it has been a bedrock own passions they take away his tv
i chose this is the historic event we could determine the loss of the fire would have been reconstructed but shallow came out of the present shallow southern baptist church in the slow the civil washington seventy the first pastor being dead of the white pastors of the white congregation as they split instead of shallow oh and here we all are and pointless years later in many rural areas in the south churches established a century ago still service focal point for their communities and a church homecoming sovereign opportunity for city folks return from their childhood homes some the most popular church homecoming is still draw hundreds of people each year probably dress for sunday mean they come from across the country to see all neighbors and meet new friends most of our income was one away a bag going into fall is an active economic reasons someone away is because they were not going that well for them that opportunities were not there
and now they've gone off and most of them have been successful are and we used a vessel walls coming back into our community to show that you can do it even if you go into a sailing when they come all the autism old a nation in which i came in from wheeling west virginia and i can hear for homecoming because not all is this basically haven't lived here all her life i came from uncle portuguese floor i've just recently moved there from iowa about turkey and my association say this is why i was born families who migrated to cities many years ago come back to his stores about their history from relatives and friends water
had to be said so and finally of the year and counsel from here and so this is the fourth up to come down his new members summit's album childhood and knowledge that i want to get up and to visit family or their greater union
you're right it is an old fashioned way of philosophy and the reason that you're at your home turf provides a place for them to celebrate that spirit of community and impassioned you know seventeen years and the team lost two generations and then and i have not seen the faces change the same enthusiasm and excitement scrutinize aside because champa build viable reasons to get that kind of fellowship and camaraderie that you just can't replace makes the label and only live twenty years dr dan rhodes dan talk to a family and they're a test division
california near california's boost they need to me i'm not not connect that legacy before i don't get the feeling that and at the sick people a lot of people moving back up here because it's peaceful they want that quiet serenity that they wanted to get away from when they were here after living in the city it's just a place to come back and the people the atmosphere all of you always have to for a lot of people go someplace that what's not appear in what to him they were going to take plenty of souvenirs from their visit keepsakes to help them clean a few more fond memories from this harvest time experience and then same time next year
The Alabama Experience
Gather Unto Thy People
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University of Alabama Center for Public Television
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University of Alabama Center for Public Television and Radio (CPT&R) (Tuscaloosa, Alabama)
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This piece follows along with dedication day, a time to celebrate and visit with past loved ones, at churches all over the state of Alabama. These churches include: Bivens Chapel Methodist Church in Jefferson County, Mount Zion Freewill Baptist Church in Tuscaloosa County, Cathmagby Baptist Church in Elmore County, and Shiloh Primitive Baptist Church in Marengo County. The pieces highlights these churches individual traditions for their dedication days, the preparation involved, the history behind dedication day, as well as individual stories about passed loved ones.
A series that focuses on bringing to life the inspiring stores and empowering characters that have helped form Alabama's past and are working to shape its future.
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Chicago: “The Alabama Experience; Gather Unto Thy People,” 1994-11-03, University of Alabama Center for Public Television and Radio (CPT&R), American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed September 21, 2021,
MLA: “The Alabama Experience; Gather Unto Thy People.” 1994-11-03. University of Alabama Center for Public Television and Radio (CPT&R), American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. September 21, 2021. <>.
APA: The Alabama Experience; Gather Unto Thy People. Boston, MA: University of Alabama Center for Public Television and Radio (CPT&R), American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from