Reuben and Susan Scott were among the slaves who arrived in Alabama in 1847 with their owner William Stuart Bankhead, a descendant of Thomas Jefferson. For more than a century and a half, the Bankhead and Scott families have remained intertwined. After emancipation, members of the Scott family stayed in Alabama, and found themselves locked in the grip of a sharecropping economy that, even by the mid-twentieth century, denied them opportunities to acquire land. Their achievements in education were hard-won and the bonds of family were strong. To this day descendants of the Scott and Bankhead families share a sense of community. “I’ve never seen a place I liked as well,” Eliga Diggs says as he explains why he has never left Courtland, Alabama.