An essay from the Place Issue My dad wanted his death, like his life, to be a work of art—a tomb he designed and filled with ceramics—and one that would allow him to define death on his own terms. My… by Alice Driver | Aug, 2020

An essay from the Place Issue The quest was half-ironic, but I was hoping at the same time to feel something I couldn’t make fun of. If a revelation from the Earth manifested inside my body, well, that would mean… by Liam Baranauskas | Aug, 2020

An essay from the Place Issue This congregation is the only one in eastern Alabama and was born out of a potluck dinner for Rosh Hashanah in the early ’80s when a local couple invited four friends over, telling them… by Carly Berlin | Aug, 2020

A feature essay from the Summer/Fall 2020 issue. This is how so many black families lose their land. One person wants to sell and starts an action that can force a sale. And if a developer wants the land, he… by Rosalind Bentley | Aug, 2020

A featured conversation from the Summer/Fall 2020 issue. “The pandemic in the United States opened up the truth of what that nation is about. Like a volcano, truth just came pouring out. Just layers and layers and layers. I keep… by Minnijean Brown Trickey and Crystal C. Mercer, moderated by Danielle A. Jackson; photographs by Ebony Blevins | Aug, 2020

A Points South essay from the Place Issue As of today’s journey, our family has been in quarantine for more than a hundred days. Summer camp plans have fallen by the wayside, much like those color-coded home-school schedules parents passed… by Karen Good Marable | Aug, 2020

An Omnivore essay from the Summer/Fall 2020 issue. Johns has said that, even as a child, he wanted to be an artist—only he didn’t know what an artist was. “In the place where I was a child, there were no… by Baynard Woods | Aug, 2020

 A Letter from the Editor, Place Issue. A tiresome stereotype about the American South is that this place is a monolith. Growing up in Arkansas, with the two sides of my family living in different regions of the state, I… by Eliza Borné | Jul, 2020

Gayle Wald

Gayle Wald teaches at the George Washington University. She is author, most recently, of It’s Been Beautiful!: “Soul!”  and Black Power Television, about the acclaimed TV showcase (1968–73). A musical theater adaptation of her biography of gospel trailblazer Rosetta Tharpe, Shout, Sister, Shout!, opens in the summer of 2017 at Pasadena Playhouse.
February 21, 2017

No person living today knows exactly what an 1850s minstrel banjo sounded like; the music that was made on such instruments predates the invention of recorded sound. But we know that the banjo was brought to America by Africans, and that white players, including Thomas F. Briggs—author of the first banjo instruction book, an invaluable resource for historians and musicians—learned from black banjoists. When Giddens composes for or performs on her banjo, she channels both the history and the mystery of early American banjo music: what has been passed down as well as what has been lost.