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In 1990, Hollis Curl, the retired Camden judge who jailed civil rights protestors and supported segregation, began to have a change of heart about Gee's Bend.

"Over across the river, I could see the sky lit up. Something was burning," he says. "I learned later in the day that a house had burned down. They had no fire truck, no way to get a fire engine over there, no way to get back and forth across the river at all."

After that day, Hollis began writing editorials and letters in his newspaper, The Wilcox Progressive Era. He used this platform to voice his support of bringing back the Gee's Bend ferry. He wrote, "The hull was taken out of service in the '60s as a means of lessening racial tensions in Camden. That's a historical fact. With all of that behind us, it's time for officials black and white to step down and try to do something to benefit everybody for a change."

Camden's community leaders listened and united. In the summer of 2006, after 44 years of isolation, the Gee's Bend ferry took to the water once again.
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FROM: The Dream Lives: A Martin Luther King Day Special
Published on March 14, 2008

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