Tupac Was an Imperfect Prophet

A Contested Figure, the Rapper Championed a ‘Thug Life’ Meant to Liberate Black Americans

Hailed as a truth-teller and a champion of Black empowerment, disparaged as a hoodlum with a hot temper whose lyrics glorify violent behavior, the late rapper and actor Tupac Shakur continues to be remembered in contested ways, more than 25 years after his murder in a drive-by shooting. In 2023 alone, FX aired a five-part docuseries on him, at least three different writers authored books about him, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce awarded him a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and a long-overdue arrest and indictment has finally been made …

A Black Neighborhood, Upended by a Highway, Looks to Reconnect

Communities of Color in St. Paul, and Across the Country, Are Making Efforts to Remember and Rebuild

How do you remember—and reconnect—a neighborhood destroyed by highway construction over a half-century ago?

Since 1983, this has been the mission of Saint Paul, Minnesota’s annual Rondo Days festival. “[You see] …

In San Antonio, Remembering More Than the Alamo

Innovators Are Using Digital Tools to Tell Stories of the City’s Black and Latinx History

In San Antonio, Texas, one memorial—the church-turned-fort-turned-shrine of the Alamo—dominates the landscape. At the Alamo, the artifacts, images, and captions on display tell a unified story: That martyrs died there …

Heather McGhee Wins the 2022 Zócalo Book Prize

The Sum of Us Shows How Racism Costs Us All, and What Americans Can Do to Prosper Together

Heather McGhee, the former president of the think tank Demos and a scholar of economic and social policy, is the winner of the 2022 Zócalo Public Square Book Prize for …

Is Black Veganism the Future of Soul Food?

What Animates the Cuisine Isn’t the Chicken or the Hog—It’s the Spirit of Preservation and Promotion of Black Identity

Soul food is famously revered for pork and barbecue, for savory side dishes cooked in lard. I am a Black man who grew up loving my mother’s cornbread dressing and …

The Mississippi Sharecropper Who Helped Black Americans Win Voting Rights | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

The Mississippi Sharecropper Who Helped Black Americans Win Voting Rights

Fannie Lou Hamer’s Legacy Reminds Us That Everyday People Can Effect Change—Even When the Nation Is Impossibly Divided

Though Black people represented 50 percent of Mississippi’s voting age population in 1964, Jim Crow literacy tests, poll taxes, violence, and intimidation had managed to all but silence their political …