Why California’s Lettuce Lands Are Unlikely Vaccination Leaders

The Rural Salinas and Imperial Valleys Have Succeeded in Reaching the People the Rest of the State Can't Inoculate

If demographics and geography really were COVID destiny, then Gonzales—a small, working-class town with a young, overwhelmingly Latino population in rural California—would be a pandemic disaster.

Instead, Gonzales is among California’s most vaccinated places. In this Salinas Valley town of 9,000, where fewer than 10 percent of adults have a college degree, 98 percent of eligible residents have received at least one dose.

Readers of this column know that Gonzales is often an outlier of excellence among California communities. But in this case, it’s part of a larger, unexpected success story around …

The Forgotten History of Brazil’s Concentration Camps | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

The Forgotten History of Brazil’s Concentration Camps

In the Early 20th Century, Authorities Hid Thousands of Impoverished Rural People Trying to Escape Drought

This is an excerpt from Brazilian social critic and novelist Rachel de Queiroz’s first book Os Quinze. Published in 1930 and later translated in English as The Fifteen, it refers …

Where I Go: Herding the Goats at Squashville Farm | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Where I Go: Herding the Goats at Squashville Farm

Goats Live in an Alternate Reality of Soil and Self-Determination

It happens at least once a week: The goats commit jailbreak. They nibble, squirm, and leap their way out of the two-acre space where they are supposed to stay put. …

Why Americans Love Andy Griffith’s Toothy Grin | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Why Americans Love Andy Griffith’s Toothy Grin

In the Post-Civil Rights Era, Images of Southerners as ‘Slow-Witted Rubes’ Soothed White Anxieties

Today, when many Americans think of the “good old days”—when neighbors knew each other and the world seemed safer and simpler—they often conjure visions of the 1950s and early 1960s, …

How the Pickup Truck Carried the American South Into the Future

From 'Rusty Rattletraps' to 'Big Black Jacked-Up' Rides, the Iconic Vehicles Symbolize Blue-Collar Identity While Flaunting Bourgeois Prosperity

The pickup truck’s rise from its crude, makeshift origins to the almost luxury-item status it enjoys today amounts to a Horatio Alger tale with a technological twist, providing a striking …