Community

Beheading the Serpent

BY Christopher Rusanowsky

In the small town of Sweetwater, Texas, a controversial event happens every year, which brings about forty thousand visitors to this town that’s populated with ten thousand residents.

Via Crucis

BY Nima Taradji

For almost 40 years the predominantly Latino neighborhood of Pilsen, located in Chicago’s Lower West Side, has held Via Crucis Viviente, or Living Way of the Cross, a re-enactment of Christ’s crucifixion during its Good Friday Celebration.

Last Free Place

BY Christopher Rusanowsky

In the Salton Sea of the past, the roads would be backed up with visitors from the suburbs of Riverside, California, and Los Angeles, a popular place to spend the summer.

Second Line

BY Nima Taradji

One of the most unique and quintessential New Orleans traditions can be found played out every Sunday in the Second Line Parade. Rooted in the history of social clubs, brass bands, and funeral jazz, these parades happen almost every week at a different location in the city.

Baptism by Firehose

BY Rod Lamkey Jr.

Welcome to baptism by firehose, the emotional conclusion to a weeklong annual spiritual convention for the congregants of the United House of Prayer for All People in Washington, DC, on the last weekend of August.

Crime and Punishment

Witness Unprotected

BY Rod Lamkey Jr.

2502 Pomeroy Road in southeast Washington, D.C. is a lonely, dark place at night. A long road up a steady hill, turning into the apartment complex there’s only one way in and one way out. It’s the perfect place for a murder or revenge.

Synagogue Shooting

BY Justin Merriman

On October 27th, the Tree of Life Synagogue, in Pittsburgh, Pa., became the site of the deadliest attack against the Jewish community in American history.

Alcatraz

BY Pete Marovich

Alcatraz Island, located in the San Francisco Bay a little over a mile offshore from San Francisco, California, is home to the now closed Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary and the site of the oldest operating lighthouse on the West Coast of the United States.

Culture

Legacy of the Black Cowboy

BY Pete Marovich

The nation’s only touring African American rodeo, the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo has brought bulldogging, roping, bareback bronco riding, bull riding, barrel racing and other events to cities across the nation for 27 years.

The Old Order

BY Pete Marovich

The farmlands of Pennsylvania, Virginia, Ohio, Indiana and Ontario are among the most productive in North America. Many of the farmers in these areas are different, but different by choice. They are Old Order Mennonites, sometimes called the “Plain People,” and they trace their heritage back hundreds of years.

Big Top Dreams

BY Pete Marovich

The Cole Bros. Circus was the oldest, American Circus performing under the Big Top. W. W. Cole, who inaugurated the Cole Bros. Circus title in 1884, began his circus career in 1871, amassing fortune and fame by bringing to cities and villages the most astounding marvels of the day. Cole Bros. stopped touring in 2016.

Shadows of the Gullah Geechee

BY Pete Marovich

When slavery was abolished in 1863, the Gullah Geechee people of the Sea Islands settled in the lands they once worked as slaves when plantation owners abandoned their property. They continued their traditions and created their own communities steeped in religion and African traditions. They are known as Gullah in North and South Carolina and Geechee in Georgia and Florida.

Discourse and Dissent

Economy

Evicted

BY Natalie Behring

In mid-December 2020, Sara Carroll and her family were getting ready for Christmas. Then the eviction notice came.

Midtown’s Dark Days

BY Stephanie Keith

When COVID-19 hit New York City in mid-March, the entire city of 8.5 million people was put on lockdown. With skyscrapers emptied of workers, famed theaters shuttered and tourists banned, the proverbial heart of the city- Midtown Manhattan- fell into despair.

Oil Boom Boys

BY Christopher Rusanowsky

With the discovery of oil in “The Bakken” Shale and hydraulic fracking, people from all over the country migrated to the rural towns of North Dakota.

Searching for Dream Street – Monessen

BY Pete Marovich

Monessen was created by steel magnates who built mills along the Monongahela. By 1930, more than 20,000 people lived in Monessen. Workers here made steel for Chrysler cars and cables for the Golden Gate Bridge.

Searching for Dream Street – Clairton

BY Pete Marovich

Clairton, a city in Allegheny County, Pa., along the Monongahela River, is home to the United States Steel Clairton Works, the largest coke manufacturing facility in the United States. The city is still trying to recover from the decline of the steel industry.

Rankin – Searching for Dream Street

BY Pete Marovich

Searching for Dream Street – Rankin The Carrie Furnaces were built in 1881 as part of U.S. Steel’s Homestead Works, a sprawling 400-acre complex that spanned both sides of the Monogahela river. They produced up to 1,250 tons of steel a day until 1978 when they were closed. While the majority of the site was razed for a shopping center, …

Searching for Dream Street

BY Pete Marovich

The suburban towns along its iconic three rivers, helped make Pittsburgh an industrial powerhouse, driven by an influx of foreign-born workers at the turn of the 20th century. Immigrants filled jobs in the mills, where steel was forged for the aircraft and battleships that helped win two world wars.

But as you drive through these towns today, it’s clear they have been largely forgotten. Once bustling shopping corridors are all but empty. The company homes where mill workers raised their families are showing their age, and residents still reminisce about the “good old days” before the mills shuttered.

Searching for Dream Street – Aliquippa

BY Pete Marovich

In 1909, Jones and Laughlin Steel Corporation (J&L), which already had a mill on the south side of Pittsburgh, wanted to expand, so it purchased land along the Ohio River near the town of Woodlawn about 25 miles downriver from Pittsburgh. The company expanded the town, building homes and businesses to accommodate the workers of what would become the largest steel mill in the world, stretching for 7 miles along the riverfront.

Environment

Nature of Fire

BY Christopher Rusanowsky

Miles away from a wildfire’s front line, smoke can be seen rising in the sky. Ash, carried by the prevailing wind, rains down on the neighborhoods below – a warning that the fire is approaching and growing stronger.

Health and Wellness

Invisible Monster

BY American Reportage

In a faraway land across a vast ocean, in a place called Wuhan, it was the dead of winter when the rumors of sickness and death first appeared like a whisper in the falling snow.

Healthcare in Rural America

BY Rod Lamkey Jr.

They came through the hollers with the winding clear streams, lush overhanging trees and ancient rocky hillsides wet with dew and morning fog. They drove in old jalopies and walked over the mountain roads. They came from Haysi, Dante, Big Stone Gap, Wise and other small towns near the Kentucky border too small to have a name.

Rural America Under the Influence

BY Rod Lamkey Jr.

In southwest Virginia, amongst the graves, a soft weeping can be heard through the rustle of leaves in the trees. Debbie Stanley is bowed down, crying on the gravestone of her son, Jessee James Stanley, on the one-year anniversary of his death.

Uninsured in Rural America

BY Justin Merriman

Hours before daylight, hundreds of desperate people wait outside the gate. They hold pieces of paper with numbers, praying theirs are low enough to assure entry. They have traveled too far and endured too much to be denied.

Healthcare Never Never Land

BY Pete Marovich

Remote Area Medical (RAM), is a nonprofit volunteer medical relief corps based in Knoxville, Tennessee, RAM provides free health, dental and vision care to people in remote areas of the United States and around the world.

Immigration

The Dangerous Quest for Asylum

BY Carol Guzy

Flashlights appear in the of darkness at midnight on a riverbank in Roma, Texas and the first sound that breaks the stillness is usually a baby crying. Then the inflation of a rubber raft that soon carries a slice of desperate humanity, women and children mostly, across the Rio Grande from Mexico to their American Dream.

El Norte: The Americans

BY Rod Lamkey Jr.

On the outskirts of Garden City, Kansas, along the smooth two-lane road, past the silos and the grazing cattle, a few semi trucks are parked in the dusty gravel lot below the tall, yellow Super 8 sign.

El Norte: Dispatches from the US-Mexico border

BY Rod Lamkey Jr.

There, in the desert the dark storm clouds drifted across the jagged horizon. The July air was dry as a bone. On the hot ground, the rock and cactus, through the high thorny brush she sat silent, crouched low, her hair wild from the helicopter above, her brown eyes squinting in the desert light.

The Border

BY Justin Merriman

Traveling across the United States border with Mexico, the story of immigration unfolds for both the undocumented migrants and the law enforcement entities that stretch across the more than 1,900 miles.

Politics

Last Days

BY Pete Marovich

For years during his administration, President Donald Trump claimed that the only way he could be denied a second term was if the election was rigged, thus laying the groundwork for his “stop the steal” campaign after the votes were counted.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg Dies

BY American Reportage

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, died as a result of complications from metastatic cancer of the pancreas at her home in Washington, D.C., on September 18, 2020 surrounded by family.

Former President George H.W. Bush Dies

BY Pete Marovich

George Herbert Walker Bush, died November 30, 2018 at the age of 94. Bush served as the 41st President of the United States from 1989 to 1983, and as the 43rd Vice President of the United States from 1981 to 1989 under President Ronald Reagan.

Religion

Baptism by Firehose

BY Rod Lamkey Jr.

Welcome to baptism by firehose, the emotional conclusion to a weeklong annual spiritual convention for the congregants of the United House of Prayer for All People in Washington, DC, on the last weekend of August.

Roadside America

South of the Border

BY Pete Marovich

You can see the 200-foot tall Sombrero Tower from over a mile away as you cross the border on interstate 95 from North Carolina into South Carolina, but billboards have been announcing its sighting from as far away as Virginia. When you get closer you see Pedro, an almost 100-foot tall statue of a Mexican bandito and your host at South of the Border.

The Homefront

A Child’s Pilgrimage

BY Pete Marovich

I met Brittany Jacobs in Section 60 on Memorial Day 2012. It was the first time she had seen her late husband’s headstone. When I first saw her, she was crying as she clutched her 17-month-old son Christian at the gravesite.

The Field

BY Jeff Swensen

It was the stroke of violence there that brought terrorism to the front door of each home along every dirt road in Everywhere, America. “Flyover country” has its own Ground Zero.

ZIPCODE USA

46402 – Gary, Indiana

BY Pete Marovich

The brainchild of the Catholic Affairs Committee, the Knights of Columbus had planned to erect a series of large crucifixes throughout Lake County, Indiana. The crucifixes were described as memorials “to Americans who gave their lives in this country’s wars” and also “carry a religious message to the thousands of motorists who will pass by them” on US 20.

15641 – Parks Township, Pennsylvania

BY Justin Merriman

Billie Thompson wears her poodle skirt in her living room at her home in Parks Township, Pa. Thompson came of age in the 50’s and reminisced about clothing styles and the way of life back then. She always wanted a poodle skirt and never had one until she went on a cruise and made one for 50’s night.