Tag: Sanctuary

Inherited

Inherited

Gris Muñoz

They'd long forgotten to dance— mis abuelos, rigid as the simple white wooden screen door that snapped open and shut into grandma's kitchen

A Felt Need

A Felt Need

Jajuan S. Johnson

The photo essay offers a first-hand account of the mysterious burning of Roanoke Baptist Church in Hot Springs, Arkansas, on December 22, 1963, told Mr. Elmer Beard, the church deacon. Chronicling the church's rise from a clandestine gathering before the Civil War to an influential activist institution during the 1960s civil rights movement, Beard offers insight into Roanoke's prophetic mission encompassing a commitment to justice despite reprisals. The essay brings forth the narrative of the Hot Springs NAACP chapter and its leaders, such as Reverend James Donald Rice, the pastor of Roanoke, during the time of the fire. The dynamics of Black placemaking, labor, and kinship are discussed. Beard's story describes the power of Black imagination in the context of a southern Black church. Roanoke's persistent presence is grounded in the audaciousness of formerly enslaved people who dared to create sanctuary affirming their humanity and divinity as well as future generations.

Queer Sanctuary on the Borderlands

Queer Sanctuary on the Borderlands

Joel Zapata

This piece explores the multiple Latina/o/x and Queer, social-cultural sanctuaries that exist within the El Paso-Ciudad Juárez borderplex. In so doing, the essay follows the author's move from the conservative Texas Panhandle to the U.S.-Mexico border, where they sought solace in a community in-between two cultures, two languages, and two nations. On the border, the author found a vibrant cultural hub for both Latina/o/x/s and the LGBTQ community. That is, the border is not simply a place at the peripheries of cultural worlds. It is a place of cultural making, including the making of a borderlands culture of sanctuary through which the author had the opportunity to see and explore their new home. Within that narrative, the essay surveys the social makeup along with the political and social history of Texas, the U.S.-Mexico border, the U.S. South, and these regions' various physical and cultural meeting points.

A Place to Sigh

A Place to Sigh

Dawn Williams Boyd in conversation with Margaret T. McGehee

In this interview, contemporary visual artist Dawn Williams Boyd (b. 1952) shares with scholar Margaret T. McGehee the ways in which her work (which she terms "cloth paintings") and her house and studio in Atlanta, Georgia, serve as a sanctuary--a space of safety, a place where she can be at home, a place where she can sigh. She further shares details from her life that inform her art, discusses the process by which she creates cloth paintings, and offers insight into her aims and choices within specific pieces.

What Love Looks Like in Public

What Love Looks Like in Public

Sharon P. Holland and Tiz Giordano, illustrations by Iris Gottlieb

This essay is a thought-piece that attempts to capture the tenor of the pandemic and the necessity to provide mutual aid in times of crisis. It also attests to the fact that mutual aid extends beyond capital, as it also encompasses mutual care in community. As we articulate our mirrored experiences during the pandemic, we trace a common trajectory in the simple thought that everyone deserves to be housed and fed, and that they deserve these two basic needs to be met with their self-determination in mind. This is what sanctuary means to us both.

Of Clay and Wonder

Of Clay and Wonder

Chérie Rivers Ndaliko

Haunted by a deceptively simple question of origin, this is a story of Black bodies, unmoored from ancestral homelands, re-membering that which was—and continues to be—dismembered by colonialism. It is, too, a story of possibilities and priorities, of Black bodies, in the wake of transatlantic displacement, renewing our allegiance to earth, and water, and the tending of life.

Otherwise Possibility

Otherwise Possibility

Ashon Crawley

Learning about Life and love in the spiritual space of Blackpentecostalism, I was able to sense the world by paying attention to how my flesh felt. We sang songs loudly. We shouted hard. We spoke in tongues. The flesh was the conduit through which praise and worship happened. But the flesh was also a site to control, a site that was always available to sinfulness. The doctrine about queerness as beyond the scope of possible joy and holiness is a doctrine I had to reconcile and eventually contest.

Walking with Ella Watson

Walking with Ella Watson

Jovonna Jones

Gordon Parks made a series of photographs for the Farm Security Administration in 1942. Parks intended to document the impact of racial bigotry on Black communities in Washington D.C., and found a resilient subject in Ella Watson, a Black woman who cleaned federal offices. This moment produced the iconic "American Gothic" portrait Parks made of Watson in the building that evening. But Watson also brought Parks to other critical spaces in her life, including her home altar and her worship community at the St. Martin's Spiritual Center. This essay meditates on the images of Watson's religious life. Walking with Watson into the sanctuary and documenting spiritualists' dynamic forms of worship helped Parks to focus his lens on the fullness of Black living beyond the burdens of systemic racism. The photographs help us to visualize how sacred liberatory spirit emerges in solitude and in collectivity, moving both within and beyond the walls of the sanctuary.

Respite, Refuge, and Remembering

Respite, Refuge, and Remembering

Regina N. Bradley

For this issue of Southern Cultures, we wanted to engage the South's complicated relationship with sanctuary. Executed under the careful guidance of guest editor Annette M. Rodríguez, our "Sanctuary" issue grapples with the complexities of the South as a place of refuge and possibility. From "places to sigh" to "otherwise possibilities," these essays, reflections, and creative works speak to sanctuary in its many forms, demonstrating resistance, resilience, and community, and the ways in which they overlap.

Escape-Bound

Escape-Bound

Barbara Sostaita