Essay

In L.A., Driving the Road to Black Empowerment

For Families Like Mine, Cars Were an Engine of Social and Economic Mobility

by Alison Rose Jefferson

In 1925 my maternal grandparents bought a new Dodge, packed up their things, and made their escape from the anti-Black restrictions, injustice, and violence of Montgomery, Alabama: bound for a new life in Los Angeles, California.
  Thanks to more newly paved roads and cheap automobiles, Dr. Peter Price Cobbs and Rosa Ellen (née Mashaw) Cobbs were able to see an American landscape they had not experienced before. They carefully planned out their route to California, stopping at places where they could find welcoming overnight lodging and other travel amenities. They did not have their choice of commercial places to stay overnight due to racist discrimination. They often stayed in private homes with friends—like in Phoenix, Arizona, where they visited one of …

Prizes

Héctor Tobar Wins the 2024 Zócalo Book Prize

Our Migrant Souls Is an Essential Exploration of ‘Latino’ Identity

Interview by Sarah Rothbard

Héctor Tobar is the winner of the 2024 Zócalo Public Square Book Prize for Our Migrant Souls: A Meditation on Race and the Meanings and Myths of “Latino.”
  Zócalo has awarded the $10,000 prize yearly since 2011 to the nonfiction book that best enhances our understanding of community and the forces that strengthen or undermine human connectedness and social cohesion. The 13 previous Zócalo Public Square Book Prize recipients include Heather McGhee, Michael Ignatieff, Danielle Allen, Jonathan Haidt, and most recently, Michelle Wilde Anderson.
  Tobar is the author of six books, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, and a professor at UC Irvine; he was born and raised in Los Angeles and is the son of Guatemalan immigrants …

  • Why Shouldn't Phillis Wheatley's Poems Show Up at an NFL Game?

    At Last Night’s Event—”Can a Football Stadium Be a Black History Museum?”—Panelists Argued to Democratize Culture

    by Jackie Mansky

    On the rarified second level of SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, amid premium owner suites and premium beer sales, there’s an Angela Davis quote plastered on a wall.
    “Our histories never unfold in isolation,” reads the excerpt from the scholar and activist’s 2015 book, Freedom Is a Constant Struggle. “We cannot truly tell what we consider to be our own histories …

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