Personal reflection, oral history excerpts, a “runaway slave” advertisement, and descriptions of land through a womanist lens all weave together to demonstrate a modality Lanier names “Womanist Cartography.” Using the tools of memoir, folklore, and experimental prose, Lanier invites readers to re-engage the notions of southern land through the lives, dreams, and minds of Black women. The inclusion of multi-modal artist Allison Janae Hamilton’s photography further amplifies these counter-cartographic concepts. In the wake of contemporary cataclysms around southern monuments and place-making, based on traditional hegemonies, this essay presents alternative narratives for what and where is deemed sacred in the American South, and by whom.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, at the beginning of the stay-at-home orders, we asked our friend and singer-songwriter Skylar Gudasz to invite local musicians, many out of work and not touring for the unforeseeable future, to share performances based around the theme of comfort. Recorded in the early days of self-isolation, the theme takes on new meaning as Americans pour into the streets to protest for Black Lives Matter.
In the late 1890s, self-taught photographer Hugh Mangum (1877–1922) began riding the rails as an itinerant portraitist, traveling primarily in North Carolina and Virginia. Mangum worked during the rise of the segregationist laws of the Jim Crow era. Despite this, his portraits reveal a clientele that was both racially and economically diverse, and show lives marked by notable affluence and hard work, all imbued with a strong sense of individuality and self-creation.