This article chronicles the formation of the Atlanta Lesbian Feminist Alliance (ALFA) and its creative grassroots activism from 1972 to 1975. Studying ALFA offers a critical window into how lesbian feminists were envisioning political organizing, coalition building, and sports in the New South. ALFA utilized radical strategies learned in prior movements, from antiwar to civil rights activism, to create a lesbian feminist politic in Little Five Points, Atlanta. Drawing on oral histories, this essay studies ALFA activism to challenge media coverage of lesbian and gay life, pass the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), utilize the “softball strategy,” and build regional networks through the Great Southeast Lesbian Conference.
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.