A Look at Columbus Monthly's May 2021 Issue on Black Life in Columbus
For the first time in the magazine’s history, we devoted an entire issue to a single topic: the experiences of Black people in Columbus.
The relief didn’t last.
As so many welcomed the news of ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s murder conviction in April, elation turned to outrage abruptly. Word spread that a Columbus police officer had killed another Black person—a 16-year-old girl named Ma’Khia Bryant. Within minutes, the familiar spectacle began again: politicians urging calm, activists demanding justice, social media exploding with shock and fury.
How did we get here? Like many people, I’ve been thinking about this question a lot since the video of Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd’s neck inspired street protests across the country nearly a year ago and led to a nationwide conversation about racial injustice in all aspects of American life. While this magazine has long covered inequality, I recognized we needed to do something more substantial, something that delved deeper into the persistent and insidious divisions within our community. To accomplish this goal, I needed help—and I’m grateful that acclaimed journalist, historian and Columbus native son Wil Haygood agreed to guide our team through this challenging topic.
This collaboration has resulted in something unique in the history of Columbus Monthly. For the first time since the magazine launched in 1975, we devoted an entire issue to a single topic: the experiences of Black people in our city. Together, our team and Wil, who served as guest editor, assembled an ambitious lineup of stories for the May issue that explores Black life in Columbus, from the arts to law enforcement to education and more.
As proud as I am of this issue, I recognize we need to keep up the work and do a better job covering racial inequality and the experiences of people of color than we have in the past. This is a start, not the end.
Here are the May feature stories.
The 1975 confrontation at the famed restaurant is largely forgotten by white Columbus. But for longtime Black residents, it’s a civil rights turning point, a political awakening and a tale of unchecked police violence that continues to resonate.
Mike Coleman is the most successful Black political leader in Columbus history. His career provided a road map for his protégé, Shannon Hardin. Then the world changed.
Franklin County and the city of Columbus have declared racism a public health threat for good reason. What’s being done to attack the inequities?
This bygone era of cars, congas, bell bottoms and more lives on in the memories of its participants—and in the photography of Steve Harrison.
Can King-Lincoln Bronzeville retain its central role in the life of Black Columbus as white residents and investment dollars pour into the neighborhood?
While the Northeast Side community has struggled, its roughly 100 churches have a remained a source of strength. Can these religious anchors keep the faith amid gun violence, unemployment and yet another turnaround plan?
How a dancer/poet, a ceramicist, a photographer, a painter and a sculptor are adapting amid tumult and change
Central Ohio suburban districts—some diverse, some not so much—are having some uncomfortable discussions about racial inequities.
And there’s more: