African Village in America

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Had the pleasure of meeting Joe Minter and seeing the African Village when travelling through Alabama in 2017.

A decent man with a great passion for decrying the racism that has permeated America since its inception, as well as numerous other geopolitical injustices.

His designs can be scary, especially his penchants for doll’s heads, but certainly leave an imprint on the memory. He was also gracious enough to show me his son’s grave, which is in the site next to his property and was the Negro/AA-only site until desegregation in the 60s.

I was a little underwhelmed with Birmingham as a whole, but this is something I won’t forget. I also bought a t-shirt from him with something he’d designed, but a donation is not strictly necessary, he just wants to show his artwork. Is in a difficult part of town to get to, so my greatest expense was an Uber both ways.


Joe Minter’s yard is easily one of most interesting, chaotic and fascinating visionary environments that I have visited (and I have seen a lot). You can see a lot of the art from the street, but I recommend trying to get a tour from the artist.

Joe and his wife enjoy visitors. I called first to make an appointment (I don’t have the phone number handy but I know I found it somewhere online). They are an older couple, so odds are pretty good they will be home. They probably will not ask for a donation, but I recommend if you have a spare $10 or $20 this is a wonderful place to get rid of it. Or consider buying a t-shirt or Joe’s book as a form of admission. We spent around 1.5 hours there, walking around and listening to Joe.

When in Birmingham: The Sloss Furnaces were pretty awesome. Also, there are a lot of really good meat + threes and barbecue places. We ate at Niki’s West and it was delicious.

On Saturday nights in nearby Bessemer, AL you will find one of the few remaining real-deal, old-school, juke joints, at Gip’s Place.

Joe Minter’s yard gets my highest recommendation.

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