Hattiesburg Tells Us What America Has Lost, Gained—and Still Needs to Fix

Zócalo Book Prize Winner William Sturkey Describes What a Community Achieved Under Oppression—and How We Can Learn From Its Accomplishments Today

At a moment when community feels precious and crisis lays bare American inequalities, the title subject of the 10th annual Zócalo Public Square Book Prize Lecture felt vital: “How Do Oppressed People Build Community?”

It’s a question that the University of North Carolina historian William Sturkey, the winner of the 10th annual Zócalo Book Prize, investigated over a decade as he researched and wrote Hattiesburg: An American City in Black and White.

The book prize is typically awarded at a live, in-person event in Los Angeles that celebrates the best nonfiction book …