A Hundred Years After Her Lynching, Mary Turner’s Memorial Remains a Battleground

The Ways We Remember, Forget, and Erase the History of This Tragedy Is an Inescapable Part of Its Story

In Lowndes County, Georgia, by the side of State Road 122, stands a historical marker for “Mary Turner and the Lynching Rampage of 1918.” The metal marker describes in plain language a May 1918 spree of mob violence. After a white farmer was murdered, the mob killed at least 11 African Americans.

Mary Turner, the marker’s named victim, was eight months pregnant. The mob targeted her because she spoke out against the lynching of her husband Hayes. A crowd of several hundred watched the men hang, burn, and shoot Turner, …

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How the U.S. Military Brought Soul Food to the World

After Serving Overseas, Black Servicemen Opened Joints That Dished up Chitlins, Cornbread, and Fried Chicken

Soul food ambassadors: probably not who comes to mind when you think of the African Americans who have served overseas in the U.S. armed forces. Yet no other group of …

How Nashville ‘Killed’ Traditional Country Music—and Then Reinvented It

The Genre Created by 'Hillbillies' and Folkies Now Speaks to Pickup-Driving Suburbanites

25 years ago, American Heritage writer Tony Scherman declared traditional country music dead and done with, asking, “How far from its social origins can an art form grow before it …

The Black-Owned Alabama Plantation That Taught Me the Value of Home

After Emancipation, Ex-Slaves Took Over the Cotton Fields. Today Their Descendants Still Cherish the Land.

By the time I was eight years old, in 1948, my parents, my sister, and I had lived in five different states and had moved more often than that. My …

Unraveling a Forgotten Massacre in My Louisiana Hometown

A History Teacher Discovers a Racially Driven Rampage That Still Haunts His Students' Lives

On a chilly Louisiana afternoon in October 1868, Louis Wilson left the courthouse, where he’d testified in an ongoing case. Wilson was a freedman living in St. Bernard Parish, a …