Why the Enigmatic ‘Turks’ of South Carolina Still Struggle to Belong in America

For Generations, a Mysterious Ethnic Group Was Shunned, but New Research Sheds Light on Its Revolutionary War Origins

Sumter County is located in South Carolina’s midlands, about an hour and a half from the Atlantic coastline in one direction and from the Blue Ridge Mountains in the other. Named after General Thomas Sumter, the “Fighting Gamecock” of Revolutionary War fame, it’s a place like many in the historic Black Belt, the stretch of former slave-holding plantations that extends from Texas to Delaware. Sumter County has also been the traditional home to an intriguing community of dark-skinned people known historically and derisively as “the Turks.” The strange story of …

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Why Has America Been So Reluctant to ‘Own’ the South?

A Preeminent Historian Explores How a Region Central to U.S. Identity Gets Written Out of the National Narrative

James C. Cobb is Emeritus B. Phinizy Spalding distinguished professor in the history of the American South at the University of Georgia. He has published 13 books and many articles …

How Anti-Spanish Bias Justified 19th-Century American Expansionism

Poet-Politician Joel Barlow Personified an Ideology Borne of Religious Antipathy and Economic Rivalry

No sooner had the U.S. Revolution ended than U.S. expansionists began looking south and southwest toward lands controlled by Spain.

The personification of this complicated project was the American poet-politician …

The Black Nurses Who Were Forced to Care for German Prisoners of War

Prohibited From Tending to White GIs, the Women Felt Betrayed by the Country They Sought to Serve

On the summer afternoon in 1944 that 23-year-old Elinor Powell walked into the Woolworth’s lunch counter in downtown Phoenix, it never occurred to her that she would be refused service. …

The Golden State’s Unpopular Pro-Slavery Governor

The First American Executive of California Was a Pioneering Man of the West—and the South

Peter Hardeman Burnett had probably the most impressive list of achievements of any leader in the early American West. He served on the supreme court of the Oregon Territory and …