The Black Freedom Seekers Who ‘Managed to Shape Their Own Destinies’

The Many and Varied Attempts by African Americans to Escape Bondage in the Lower Mississippi Valley Tell a Larger Narrative

The Lower Mississippi Valley begins at Cairo, Illinois, where the Ohio River flows into the Mississippi, and extends south to the Head of Passes 100 miles below New Orleans, where the Mississippi empties into the Gulf of Mexico. After the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, white Americans flocked into the valley, the most ambitious settling in the delta region between Vicksburg and Memphis. There, climate and soil combined to create one of the best places in the world to grow cotton.

Some brought enslaved African Americans with them. Others purchased workers …

Why Americans Still Eat Barbecue on July Fourth | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Why Americans Still Eat Barbecue on July Fourth

More Than Two Centuries Ago, Roasted Meat Met Independence Day and Hasn’t Left the National Consciousness Since

Dearly beloved, we are gathered in this moment to celebrate the culinary union of barbecue (a.k.a. barbeque, bar-b-que, bar-b-q, and BBQ) and Independence Day (a.k.a. July 4 or “the Fourth …

Hattiesburg Tells Us What America Has Lost, Gained—and Still Needs to Fix | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

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 …

How COVID-19 Exposed the Deep Divide Between White Rural Georgia and Atlanta | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

How COVID-19 Exposed the Deep Divide Between White Rural Georgia and Atlanta

In Defying the CDC’s Expert Advice, Governor Kemp Is Employing a Political Strategy More Than 150 Years Old

The number of Georgia’s confirmed coronavirus cases jumped by 30 percent in the seven days before Governor Brian Kemp appeared at the state capitol in Atlanta on April 20. There …

Historian William Sturkey Wins the 10th Annual Zócalo Book Prize  | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Historian William Sturkey Wins the 10th Annual Zócalo Book Prize 

Hattiesburg, an Intimate Look at a Segregated Southern City, Delivers a ‘Finely Woven Microcosm of American Society’

Since 2011, the Zócalo Public Square Book Prize has honored the author of the U.S. nonfiction book published in the previous year that best enhances our understanding of community and …