This Radical, Revolutionary Nation of Immigrants

Zócalo Book Prize Winner Jia Lynn Yang Chronicles the Changing Tides of American Identity

The 2021 Zócalo Public Square Book and Poetry Prize winners, Jia Lynn Yang and Angelica Esquivel, are creators of works that find the humanity in two of Zócalo’s favorite subjects: community and place.

Esquivel opened our annual book and poetry prize program with a reading of her winning poem, “La Mujer,” which “transports across cultures and generations, and yet feels very specific and momentary. It’s profound and moving,” said Tim Disney, who sponsored both prizes this year. Disney congratulated Esquivel for winning the 10th annual Zócalo Poetry Prize, for the …

The Enslaved Chefs Who Invented Southern Hospitality

Black Cooks Created the Feasts that Gave the South Its Reputation for Gracious Living 

“We need to forget about this so we can heal,” said an elderly white woman, as she left my lecture on the history of enslaved cooks and their influence on …

The 41-Volume Government Report That Turned Immigration Into a Problem

In 1911, the Dillingham Commission Set a Half-Century Precedent for Screening Out 'Undesirable' Newcomers

The Dillingham Commission is today little known. But a century ago, it stood at the center of a transformation in immigration policy, exemplifying Americans’ simultaneous feelings of fascination and fear …

How the Know Nothing Party Turned Nativism into a Political Strategy

In the 1840s and '50s, Secretive Anti-Immigrant Societies Played on National Fears Fed by the Spread of Slavery

Though the United States is a nation built by immigrants, nativism—the fear of immigrants and the desire to restrict their entry into the country or curtail their rights (or both)—has …

How Attending Elite Universities Helped Mormons Enter the Mainstream 

Through Higher Education, Latter-day Saints Joined the U.S. Meritocracy and Transformed Their Own Identity

The history of Mormon “Americanization” has long puzzled those who try to understand it.

In the last quarter of the 19th century, Mormons, under immense pressure from local and federal …

How the NFL and American Politicians Politicized (and Helped Merchandise) Pro Football

In the '60s and '70s, Gridiron Fans Like Richard Nixon and Bobby Kennedy Embraced the Sport That Wanted Their Attention

In January 1942, as the United States committed itself fully to World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt decided that baseball, then the national pastime, should sustain civilian morale during the …