The Alabama Black Belt Project is an ongoing effort to capture the rich history of the region through wonderful images of the beautiful landscape that highlights it’s wonderful Southern style.The goal is not only to become the most comprehensive collection of pictorial and oral documentation of this historic region, but also to be a boost to, not just the economy, but the area itself.As we highlight the region’s rich culture, we’ll cover a lot of ground; from the history of Antebellum homes, to the men and women who made them. It’s going to be a fun journey through the past and a look into our future.
Our Project Team
Raised in Escambia County, Alabama, Demp Bell is a lover of Southern history, in particular Alabama’s historic Black Belt region during the Antebellum period. After earning two Bachelor degrees in English and Philosophy at the University of Mobile, Demp studied Philosophy in the Masters Program at Western Kentucky University.
Demp Bell is the founder of Demp Group, LLC, and has over 30 years of Marketing and Sales and is a noted national seminar speaker for many Fortune 500 companies.
Demp Group is a premiere, full-service, marketing, consulting, and event planning firm and has established a reputation for excellence in the tri-state area of Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana. Demp Group has worked in conjunction with corporations such as Wal-Mart, Northrop Grumman Shipyards, DuPont, Chevron, Showtime, ABC News, and Mississippi Power (a Southern Company), as well as non-profit organizations, such as The Salvation Army, the Wal-Mart Foundation, the Red Cross, the American Heart Association, the Mississippi Hospitality and Restaurant Association, Cruisin the Coast and The Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse.
Our Project Team
Blake Bell was born in Mobile, Alabama and raised in nearby Atmore. Growing up just south of what is known as the state’s “Black Belt,” Blake and his family were avid hunters, dedicated church members and active citizens in their community.Blake, like so many other Alabamians, grew up playing sports, rooting for the Crimson Tide of the University of Alabama and enjoying the great outdoors the state has to offer.He went on to major in Journalism at both the University of Missouri-Columbia and the University of Alabama. He has since served as editor of The Andalusia-Star News and Publisher of both The Atmore Advance and The Madison Journal, in Tallulah, Louisiana. He currently lives in Atmore with his daughter, Sawyer, and son, Colin.
My love for the area known as Alabama’s Black Belt began in 1974, as myself, my twin-brother, older brother and dad hunted the white-tail buck throughout Wilcox and Lowndes Counties.
While I spent irreplaceable time with my loved ones, I also fell in love with this part of our state. Years later, my brother and I would spend countless days restoring the beautiful plantation and antebellum homes that are scattered throughout the counties that make up this historic area.
Named for the rich, dark soil that yielded cotton and other crops, the Black Belt has been the site for Civil War battles, changes to Civil Rights and the standard for Southern, small-town living for hundreds of years. As someone born and reared in this great area, I’m excited to bring you the stories of the people who make it what it is.