• Glimpses

    Have You Ever Stared Into an Alpaca’s Soul?

    Photographer Traer Scott Views Livestock as Individuals Rather Than Numbers

    Have you ever felt the direct, penetrating gaze of an alpaca? Or admired the symmetry of a sheep’s fuzzy nose? Or rued the fact that you had never stroked a goose’s long neck? And are there any pigs whose eyelashes you envy? If the answer is yes, photographer Traer Scott’s ...

  • Essay

    How Americans Learned to Condemn Drunk Driving

    In the 1980s, Liberal Activists and Anti-Drug Conservatives Joined Forces to Override a Libertarian Ethos

    By Barron H. Lerner

    At a traffic safety conference in 1980, a Californian named Candy Lightner delivered her first public speech about a 13-year-old freckle-faced girl who had recently ...

New at Zócalo


The Escaped Slave Who Discovered America

Esteban, a Captive of Spanish Explorers, Led an Eight-Year, 3,500-Mile Trek Across the Southwest and Mexico

By Dennis Herrick

    “The first white man our people saw was a black man,” wrote historian and Pueblo native Joe Sando in Pueblo Nations.
    Sando was referring to Esteban, an African who became the first non-Indian to enter what is now Arizona and New Mexico in 1539. Esteban made his way to the Southwestern corner of the what is now the United States 46 years before the first English-speaking colonists crossed the Atlantic.
    African involvement in America’s history goes back further than most Americans realize. Although history has mainly forgotten them, an unknown number of Spanish-owned black slaves escaped into the East Coast wilderness from Spanish ships in the early 1500s. Black slaves and free Africans also went with conquistador Juan Ponce de León when he sailed to Florida in 1513 and 1521. ...


Why Do So Many Nevadans Still Die on the Job?

Decades After 187 Laborers Perished at the Hoover Dam Construction Site, the State's Safety Rules Are Out of Sync With Modern Workplaces

By Michelle Follette Turk

    In the span of 18 months in 2007 and 2008, Nevada was the scene of 12 worker fatalities at casino construction sites. The disasters were not small: A 7,300-pound wall collapsed and crushed two men. An elevator struck an operating engineer. A beam broke and an ironworker fell with his safety harness still attached to the beam. A post collapsed and dropped a safety engineer five stories. Every six weeks on average, a worker died.
    The news reminded many of the Hoover Dam, a project known for its treacherous working conditions and a death count so high that it spawned myths that workers had been buried alive in the concrete. But since the Hoover Dam’s construction in the 1930s, workers have benefitted from the federal Occupational Safety and ...

Connecting California Joe Mathews


  • By Louise Mathias

    Our contract was balletic—
    you took from me the rabbits spooked
    inside their still damp nest.
    Then, you were a room ...

  • By Rita O'Connell

    Never much good at judging distances
    or my own physical strength, I imagine
    this morning that I ...