Lowndes County

Catherine Coleman Flowers

Lowndes County, Alabama covers more than 700 square miles in the south-central portion of the state. It is part of the Black Belt, a region with dense soil that was once the site of thriving cotton plantations. The area declined rapidly during industrialization, and the chalky, clay soil that was once the key to thriving cotton fields, became a disaster for sewage systems. To this day, large swaths of Lowndes County residents have either inadequate or no septic system, which leads to a wide range of environmental and public health issues.

Courtesy Danielle Purifoy

Lawyer and environmentalist Danielle Purifoy and artist Torkwase Dyson loaded up art supplies and media equipment in a mobile art studio and traveled to North Carolina and Alabama to meet people who live in the shadows of structural racism. The documentary project “In Conditions of Fresh Water” focuses on how residents of some communities in Alamance County, North Carolina, and Lowndes County, Alabama lack access to adequate sanitation infrastructure.