Loretta Pettway Bennett remembers well the moment everything changed for her tight-knit, rural community. The 20th century was drawing to a close. She was in her late 30s, living with her husband and sons on the site of an old cotton plantation on a deep bend in the Alabama River. Any spare time she could muster was spent stitching quilts alongside her grandmother, mother and aunt, to pile on beds or hang on walls to stop the damp river air from snaking in between the logs of their cabin walls.