Unique in its long commitment to slavery, “The South” has a distinctive role in the making of America. The region also has a richly-layered cultural landscape and is home to vibrant traditions of organized resistance and progressive politics. For all its exceptionalism, the complexities of race, class, culture, and conflict in the American South reflect the very soul of US society. Atlanta, an important Southern battleground of the modern American Civil Rights Movement, has been an especially poignant site for contemplating America’s troubled racial past, and importantly, for setting the course toward a redemptive future.
From 2015 until 2020, the John Lewis Fellowship in Atlanta, in partnership with the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, explored the regional experiences, cultures, and institutions of the American South through different thematic lens ever year. The 2020 Fellowship, “Just Justice,” illuminated strategies of allyship and unified action for advancing social equity and racial justice. Fellows left Atlanta better equipped to examine structural oppression and internalized prejudice from different standpoints—bringing lessons of leadership and coalition-building into their own future professional and activist work.