Outside Reading — Bulletproof Memorial Sign edition

THE BARN ON DREW RULEVILLE ROAD by Wright Thompson

This powerhouse piece, published by The Atlantic, considers the enduring shadow on the nation’s soul of condoned bigotry and connected cruelty as exemplified by the torture and murder of fourteen-year-old Emmett Till. More specifically, the article centers on the Mississippi farm structure that is the undesignated crimes scene. Over sixty years after the heinous crime, the barn where Till drew his last breath is just another building on a white man’s property, used for storage lawn equipment and Christmas decorations. Wright Thompson astutely measures the way we haven’t collectively reckoned with a dark, damaged past that continues to infect the present.

The Untold Stories of Wes Studi by Tommy Orange

Cherokee actor Wes Studi is profiled for GQ, with the great Tommy Orange doing the honors. Orange hits some of the usual beats of a celebrity piece, but makes it more personal — and far more moving — by incorporating the personal, specifically the value in seeing his own cultural identity represented on screen by a figure who transcended the reflexive condescension usually foisted on Native American characters. This article passes the most fundamental test for work of its type: It makes me eager to revisit some of my favorite Studi performances.

WHO LOSES WHEN REPORTERS DON’T REPORT? by Allison Hantschel

Allison Hantschel compellingly writes about the growing trend of reporters sitting on damning information about public figures solely so those harrowing facts can be included in future books in the hopes that chatter about bombshell revelations will drive sales figures up. Especially for those journalists who have day jobs at major newspapers and broadcast outlets, the selectivity is a abdication of responsibility that arguably amounts to a betrayal of public trust. The cynic in me grumbles that it doesn’t really matter; more timely revelations about the brazen amorality among the previously occupants of the White House wouldn’t have shifted a single opinion among the bigoted figurehead’s sycophantic supporters and enablers. Regardless, holding back newsworthy material is an infraction worthy of the disdain Hantschel heaps on it. This piece is published by DAME Magazine.

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The Life Cycle Of A Youth Activist by Delaney Tarr

Delaney Tarr is a survivor of the gun assault on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and a co-founder of March for Our Lives. She’s also a college student and aspiring journalist. For The Pavlovic Today, an online news site where she has bylines on an impressive number of articles, Tarr writes candidly about her own experience as an unexpected activist, evocatively conveying her misgivings about being drawn into the churn of celebrity around advocacy for social, cultural, and environmental betterment. Tarr also details some of the ways the willfully indifferent power structure wears down the idealism of those who believe in the possibility of progress. This kind of openness about the undue complexities endured by those who raise their voice, supposedly a hallmark of the U.S. democratic model, is vital to continuing the dismantlement of oppressive systems and improvements for all.

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