University of South Carolina

Minuette Floyd

Art professor celebrates a spiritual life in pictures

By Frenche Brewer,, 803-777-3691

Once a year as a child, Minuette Floyd’s entire family went away to camp. They didn’t hike. They didn’t sing around the campfire.

There was singing though — of church hymns. These fellowship services were special gatherings held at rural campgrounds called “camp meetings,” a tradition in the black community.

“Going to the campgrounds was something that I looked forward to doing with my family,” says Floyd, an associate professor of art education. “I grew up attending camp meetings, and I thought everybody knew about them. When I started talking about them, I realized they didn’t.”

Floyd was inspired to keep those stories and memories alive when she started revisiting the camp meeting sites she had attended with her family. She began documenting the stories and memories of the older campers through video and photography.

Now preserving that history in pictures has become a source of spiritual renewal for her.

“I started thinking about the children who come out to the campgrounds,” she says. “I wonder what they know about the history of the camp meetings, and what I could do to help preserve some of the memories and some of the stories of the elders.”

Since the idea came to her, Floyd has taken thousands of photographs and captured hours of interviews at the campgrounds. She hopes to turn the photographs into a book, “This Far by Faith,” and she says she would like to turn a portable trailer into a traveling museum, bringing the campground history to those who cannot travel.

By reconnecting with some old camp meeting friends, Floyd says it's almost seemed like coming home.

“Since I’ve been going, I have met many people and formed lasting relationships with them,” she says.

This story originally appeared in USC Times. Read the full issue online here.

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Posted: 05/07/13 @ 12:00 AM | Updated: 05/08/13 @ 12:18 PM | Permalink



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