Facing Our Collective Wounds With Generous Hope

Historian William Sturkey Reflects on Confronting Our Dark Past, and Moving Forward

I’ve felt the power of reconciliation wash over me. I felt it at the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery and at the War Remnants Museum in Saigon. I felt it when a family of Black descendants approached me at a book talk, with tears in their eyes, to hug and thank me for telling their family’s story in my book Hattiesburg. It is a feeling that inspires wholeness, human connectedness, historical justice, and internal peace.

And so I was eager—and tremendously honored—when Zócalo Public Square asked me to moderate the events in …

Invisible Women, Invisible Abortions, Invisible Histories

One La Jolla Family’s Story Illuminates a Persistent Gap in Our Collective Memory

In the summers of 1897 and 1898, the San Diego, Pacific Beach, and La Jolla Railroad hired “Professor” Horace Poole to provide Fourth of July weekend entertainment. The spry 20-something …

Francis Barraud's 1898 black and white painting of the dog Nipper looking into an Edison Bell cylinder phonograph.

Her Voice Memos and My Grief

A Friend’s Digital Messages in a Bottle Carry on a Centuries-Long Tradition of Auditory Remembrance

One of my best friends died recently.

It still doesn’t feel real. The last time I saw her was the day after the Fourth of July. Her smile always lit up …

How a French Nobel Laureate Remembers Things Past

On Paper and Film, Annie Ernaux Probes History for Questions, Not Answers

Memory is an imperfect reflector of lived experience. We look back through a series of lenses, and our focal mechanisms shift with the light. Personal memory is shape-shifted by history—what …

An altar with framed photos of martyrs and heroes who opposed martial law under Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr.’s and similar policies under Rodrigo Duterte. A black sign with golden yellow words "Remember Reflect RISE UP" leans against the table.

Using Memory to Fight Fascism in the Philippines

Fifty Years After Martial Law, Activists Are Combating Historical Revisionism to Hold Leaders Accountable

The numbers—70,000 detained, 35,000 tortured, 3,200 killed—represent the victims of President Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr.’s era of martial law, from 1972 to 1986. They serve as a reminder of one …

illustration of a funeral procession

After 150 Years, Is L.A. Ready to Remember the Chinese Massacre?

Long Buried, the Bloodiest Night in the City’s History Surfaces Amid a New Wave of Violence

It’s hard to tell a city’s story. In many cities, there’s a tension between pointing with pride and bowing in shame.

Los Angeles—where I have lived and worked for most of …