Tag: North Carolina

Soul Clap

Soul Clap

Michelle Lanier, with illustrations by Ginnie Hsu

The question is: How do I render sound visible? For me, the answer is ethnopoetics, a mode of presenting performance, ritual, and cultural expression through the tools of poetry. In its possibilities for mirroring moments, and reflecting the spaciousness and impact of tone and silence and sound, the form seeks freedom from the strictures of prose. This is an ethnopoetic journey that invites rhythmic reading—listening with the eyes.

In Search of Maudell Sleet’s Garden

In Search of Maudell Sleet’s Garden

Glenda Gilmore

Art offers an archive that documents the environmental past. As cities grew quickly in the New South at the start of the twentieth century, women established urban gardens that provided self-sufficiency and meager profits for their households. Urban planners and zoning eliminated most of these opportunities by the late 1930s. The artist Romare Bearden, born in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1911, recalled in his art the beauty of urban gardens among African American homes. This article considers those gardening practices through two Bearden collages centered on the unknown gardener Maudell Sleet and chronicles how cities changed with the demise of urban gardening.

Quicker than Coal Ash

Quicker than Coal Ash

Will Warasila

The people of Walnut Cove, North Carolina, live in the shadow of Duke Energy’s Belews Creek Steam Station, where toxic coal ash is kept in a massive unlined storage pond, and toxins are pumped into the air, water, and soil. “Quicker than Coal Ash” depicts the slow violence of coal ash and its effect on the residents, the landscape, and the structures of energy and power. The harm done to the land and its residents is invisible. Nevertheless, this series of photographs attempts to address that harm. Anne Branigin’s introduction to these photos explores the history of coal ash in North Carolina, connecting it to broader environmental justice struggles across the United States. Walnut Cove is far from alone. But despite the massive amount of coal ash the United States produces each year, not enough is known about the health impacts on neighboring communities, also known as “sacrifice zones” or “fenceline communities.” Often, the residents of these areas are politically and socially marginalized: people of color, economically disadvantaged, and too often ignored.

Mulberry Season Again

Mulberry Season Again

Lisa Sorg, with illustrations by Kristen Solecki

This essay reflects nature’s importance in coping with the isolation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The economic shutdown and public health crisis inspired many people to reconnect with the natural world, which is also in turmoil because of climate change. The essay explores the circles of life and death through a bountiful mulberry tree that grows in Maplewood Cemetery in Durham, North Carolina, near the grave of Leon Jeffers.

Snapshot: Jean Hooper, 2018

Snapshot: Jean Hooper, 2018

Justin Cook

For this short “Snapshot” feature, photographers selected one of their photographs and wrote a short reflection on what it shows us about the ever-shifting relationship between people and place in the South.

Looking for Bigfoot

Looking for Bigfoot

Cassandra Klos
“To Live and Thrive on New Earths”

“To Live and Thrive on New Earths”

Danielle M. Purifoy, photos by Jade Wilson
Escape-Bound

Escape-Bound

Barbara Sostaita
Riverwalk

Riverwalk

Holden Richards
In Place to Make Change

In Place to Make Change

Jennifer Standish
Rooted

Rooted

Michelle Lanier, photographs by Allison Janae Hamilton

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.

Comforter

Comforter

Skylar Gudasz

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.