It was established as a “freedom colony” with land given to former slaves after the Civil War.
Photographer O. Rufus Lovett started photographing the residents of Weeping Mary in 1994.
There are a number of theories as to how the town got its name, but one tends to stick more than others.
“There was a lady named Mary who lived there and legend has it, anyway, that a white man wanted to purchase her land. And she did not want to sell it to a white man,” Lovett says.
The man in question persuaded a black man to purchase the land for him instead.
“So Mary was tricked out of selling her land to another African-American,” he says. “She became very distraught over this and wept and wept.”
She became known as “Weeping Mary,” and the community later adopted the name.
When Lovett first started taking photos in the town, getting anyone to share the original true story was tough.
“[I] had to do a little coaxing after visiting Weeping Mary over a period of time to even get the story from elders in the community,” he says. “So this is front-porch legend in Weeping Mary.”
And for now, that legend seems to stay with older folks in the town.