“My family reaches out of these photographs, pushing through time to remind me of the challenges they faced—of flood, pandemic, racial violence, and debt—the same challenges we face today.”
In this moment, when connection remains paramount as our lives have shifted to isolation and virtual interaction, I picture an imaginary gathering of the captivating southern artists, photographers, scholars, storytellers, and writers whose work you will explore in this special Art and Vision issue of Southern Cultures, guest edited by Teka Selman. This assembly is loud. There is animated conversation, protest, raised voices, song, and poetry. Intricate maps and collages of southern riverways and African American women’s ways cover the walls. Images of southern sites of racial terrorism reflect past and present violence. Stories of southern artifacts, both human-made and of the natural world—from trees that witnessed lynching to the massive ceremonial mounds of southeastern Indian tribes—speak of generations of black and brown southerners as they resisted injustice and annihilation, demanding recognition of their humanity.