Black Mountain College in North Carolina produced some of the most famous poets and artists of the 20th century. But in our time, as tuition rises nationally, and state universities consider sweeping reforms, the tale of Black Mountain's life and death is about way more than art.
For Mother's Day this year, Southerners On New Ground (SONG), a regional queer liberation organization focused on the South the South, made a simple, transformative request of its members, its communities, and its affiliate organizations: Bail Black mamas out of jails.
In early 1938, the city of San Antonio arrested over a thousand of its residents during what the police chief called a “revolution.” In the city’s hundreds of pecan sheds, a mostly mexicana, mostly female workforce husked the nuts on their way to market for poverty wages -- and at the end of January, they decided to strike. That strike changed Texas politics permanently, and the work of the organizers who followed in their footsteps has lessons for the present-day left.
Betsy DeVos, the new Secretary of Education, subscribes to a philosophy of education that privileges the belief that an education should teach children what parents want them to believe. At first glance, this may not seem so unreasonable. In fact, DeVos' call for voucher programs and taxpayer-funded charter schools not only threatens religious freedom, but risks the health of our democracy as well.
Poor people are not stupid. They’re not criminals. They’re human beings that live in a society where jobs are drying up and opportunities often don't exist.
"Freedom songs" may sound like it describes relics of an older generation's civil rights movement. But this moment has its lyricists, too.
The concept of “the racist” is an obstacle for the proper study racism itself, because it allows us to heap our attention and blame on a small piece of the larger problem—rather than understanding racism as the system that structures racial inequality in societies all over the world. But killing this concept is going to be hard work.
After President Trump's executive order on immigration, protesters in Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson airport had the support of local elected officials as they sought the released of detainees. Now, activists are working to make sure that local officials' commitments to just policy extend beyond the symbolic.
We know that this administration will actively try to take us back to a frightening pre-Roe place where our reproductive rights are restricted or non-existent. Yet, I know for a fact that I cannot and will not sit around for the next four years worrying about what should have, would have, or could have been.
The Moral Monday Movement and the pursuit of a Third Reconstruction.
Why did the Great U.S. Collapse of 2019 occur so rapidly, and what set it in motion? Looking back in a recent article, the Swedish scholar Inga Stenmark acknowledged various long-term causes but stressed a chain of short-term events. According to her research, the first domino fell on November 9, 2016, the day after Donald Trump’s surprising presidential election victory.
"It's scary because I just know one country. I love Mexico because my parents taught me how to love my home country, but this is the country I grew up in, and thinking that I might leave… I know I don't have the power to change things right away, but I am here to fight for what I have to say..."
There is nothing new about what you represent. Your ancestors have hoodwinked, bamboozled, and murdered for the right to say, “This land is my land.” You don’t pay federal taxes to the democracy you now represent as its lead spokesperson. Yet the ancestors of slaves are paying taxes, and much more, for land that was never theirs to begin with.
Kentucky's expansion of Medicare and state-run health insurance exchange were models for states across the nation. Now Governor Matt Bevin wants to roll back both—against the dictates of good conscience, and against the advice of good research.
From June Bug to Hart of Dixie and Sweet Home Alabama, countless Northerners have fallen for imaginings of strong Southern types. To sort out Trump’s confused and hyperactive mind come stereotyped ideals father figures who speak slowly, softly, and with authority.
The characterization of the attack on Pulse as “the worst mass shooting in our country’s history” provides no way of understanding and historicizing this massacre. It demands national mourning while eliding a long history of racial violence in the U.S. South.
Whether or not Hillary Clinton is the next American President, she's come farther than any other woman who's run for the office. Is that a victory for all American women?
From the defacement of banners celebrating African American heritage to the choice to put the plantation house of John C. Calhoun on the cover of the commencement program, the last academic year at Clemson made it clear why many people of color don't feel at home on campus. In the first half of a two-part take on Clemson's struggle with race, Jonathan Beecher Field asks whether these were really honest mistakes, and what a path forward might look like.
There's a new wave of young Southern activists who've grown dissatisfied by the unequal distribution of economic growth in the South. As one of them says, “If we don’t do something, nothing will get done. I mean, who else is going to do it, but us?”
Scalawag correspondents provide ongoing updates from the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia
David Duke’s political career is in shambles. He did successfully win a seat in the Louisiana state legislature in 1989, but he lost badly in the race for governor in 1991, partially because the state Republican party refused to support his run. Now Duke thinks Donald Trump has created the perfect climate to run for U.S. Senate. And he might be right.
"It was sometime in the spring of 1993 that I had chicken so good it ruined me for the next 20 years."
*this claim has not been independently verified.
Recent protests in Atlanta are about more than police violence. Can a new generation replace Atlanta’s pseudo-progressive power structure with real democracy and racial justice?
Who can vote in America — and who can't — isn't just about electoral politics. It's about who counts as an equal American, and who doesn't.
Born in rural Russell County, Jackie Stump lacked a high school diploma, party affiliation, and electoral experience when he first ran for office. But he won. Scalawag looks back at his legacy and what it might teach us about politics today.
Lanier Spriggs seems like a typical 33-year-old father, husband, and businessman. But he has never voted in an election. Of the 5.85 million voting-age citizens disenfranchised because of their criminal records, almost half are people like Spriggs: non-incarcerated, previous offenders.
Six months ago ICE raids put hundreds of undocumented youth behind bars. Now one of them is free. His story reflects the hundreds of others going untold.
The rhetoric of the Leave movement is hardly original; in the South, it would be kitsch at this point if it weren’t still so threatening. In fact, we've learned some lessons about this kind of talk (and the politics that come with it).
I’ve found in my students a fresh, unwilted idealism that rejects, intuitively and forcefully, practical arguments that try to explain away gerrymandering. When I put the maps thrown out by the courts in front of them earlier this year, the average reaction was a disgust and indignation that went above concerns of equity or justice or democratic principle and straight to a simple “this just isn’t right.”
Wanting to catch up with the man many are calling literature’s next Denis Johnson, Scalawag phoned Lee Clay Johnson, who was hunched over a radial dial telephone in his small cabin home just outside of Charlottesville.
Largely enshrined after the Civil War, felon disenfranchisement laws outlived their better-known Jim Crow cousins, and even today operate in tandem with the prison-industrial complex to deny Americans of color full access to political life