We’re moving into *looks at calendar* year three of the pandemic and it all just feels like a lot. Probably because it is a lot. Are our measly mammal brains made to carry the weight of political chaos, climate doom and human rights violations — all inside a global pandemic? You’re not the only one feeling it all.
In an effort to stay sane and on top of what Southerners are caring about in light of “all this,” we really honed in on our people. We dug into faith, sex, identity and change with some of the South’s most prolific, but maybe not the most well-known, voices and brought you work we’re proud of.
Here’s what we think (and you told us) was our best work from 2021
In a rural Alabama town, young Southerners have created their own ‘magical community’
Anna Claire Vollers took a trip to a rural Alabama town and talked to a group of friends who moved away from the city to take root and build community in Greensboro. It’s the perfect read for some wholesome escapism complete with a near-finished Victorian home renovation, bakery, art studio and pandemic porch hangs.
The unique language of Southern Appalachia
John Hammontree talked to Jennifer Heinmiller, co-author of the Dictionary of Southern Appalachian English for The Reckon Interview podcast about the language of Southern Appalachia. Y’all ever heard of a “ring tailed tooter?” What about a “wooly booger?”
How one survivor is standing up for sexual abuse victims in the Southern Baptist Convention
Anna Beahm caught up with a sexual assault survivor taking on arguably one of the most powerful religious groups in the country, the Southern Baptist Convention and getting results.
Growing Up Asian in Alabama
Montgomery native Rebecca Seung-Bickley wrote an essay for us on what it was like growing up Asian in Alabama after the widespread uptick in violence against Asian-Americans. Her piece was raw and real, depicting the struggles of fitting into many Americans’ narrow view of what and how AAPI folks should be.
Capitol riot: The 48 hours that echoed generations of Southern conflict
John Hammontree and Abbey Crain dug into the South’s history and its present-day conflicts epitomized on Jan. 6. One hundred and fifty years after the end of the Civil War, 48 hours across Mississippi, Georgia and Washington D.C., demonstrated the promise of the South, the demons continuing to haunt the region, and new dangers looming on the horizon.
A child care crisis worsened in the pandemic. Meet the Southerners working to fix it.
The number of women leaving their careers during the pandemic was astounding. Anna Claire Vollers talked to the Southerns looking to take on gaps in child care.
Why Ashlee Inscoe, an incarcerated intersex, trans woman is fighting for her safety
Alexis Wray’s heartbreaking interview with Ashlee Inscoe, an incarcerated intersex trans woman, brought humanity to an underreported, easily dismissable issue.
Erica Hensley, our reporter with The Fuller Project, gave us the lay of the land on abortion access in the South with her first piece. With abortion rights being threatened on a national level, we think it’s important to recognize the folks impending legislation could affect the most.
Alabama Rush TikTok is a window into the promise, problems and pearls of Gen Z sorority life
Abbey Crain took on Alabama Rush TikTok in an essay reminding us of the innate problems of Greek life at Southern schools and the students that will ultimately be the change.