Makeshifting

Black Women and Resilient Creativity in the Rural South

Illustration by Hudd Byard

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Makeshifting

Black Women and Resilient Creativity in the Rural South

by Kimber Thomas
Southern Cultures, Vol. 26, No. 1 (Documentary Moment)

“[These] women were engaged in an ongoing, material experiment of how to be together and live together in their world, at the Crossroads.”

Mamie Barnes was the first black woman to own land at the Crossroads. Her lot was right below the four-way stop, down the fork and to the left, directly in the sun, in God’s spotlight. Her neat, white shotgun house had a white, wooden screen door that led to a screened-in porch and a white, wooden porch swing—the perfect prelude to the inside—and all around us was beauty: pink roses and petunias, ripened okra and purple eggplant, collards and cucumbers, stems crisscrossing, like braided hair.

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