In This Place, We Flesh: Black Lives and Protest in the Lower Midwest

A special collection of articles from The New Territory magazine’s print edition.

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To Catch a Unicorn

To Catch a Unicorn

I love the uniqueness that my presence brings, and while I never set out to do this after getting my degree, my stumbling into this world is exactly the type of thing I imagine for which the phrase “happy accident” was created.

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Review: Cindi Mayweather ascends

Review: Cindi Mayweather ascends

Monáe emerges triumphant and euphoric in the hand-clapping final track, “Americans,” just as Jane gets through to Zen and they escape together. She belongs here, Monáe sings, even with the country’s history of sexism and homophobia and of seeing “my color before my vision.”

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wetland viewing platform in silhouette against purple sunset

Ceremony is Protest, Protest is Ceremony

Many people over time have thought they owned the wetlands or some small part of it and could make it into what they wanted. But as Daniel Wildcat reminded us, no one can ever own the wetlands. This place, Wakarusa, has its own agency. Over centuries, it nourished and healed the Indigenous peoples who came to know it; in the past decades, it has brought human and nonhuman communities together in the struggle for respectful and inclusive coexistence.

Issue 09: Rebuilding

In our forthcoming issue, Rebuilding, David Todd Lawrence and Elaine J. Lawless write about when advocacy failed the citizens of Pinhook, Missouri, a Black farming community on the banks of the Mississippi, flooded by the Army Corps of Engineers. We also have fiction by Elinam Agbo, a personal essay by A. Meadows-Fernandez, and photos of 2020 protests across the Midwest by Andre’ SessionsCaleb Oswell, and Doug Barrett.

Pre-order and get the print issue in the mail.

A Note on the Collection

Our editor Sara Usha Maillacheruvu writes in her introduction to our forthcoming issue, “With the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others, we have seen plainly how our country can devalue, degrade, and destroy Black lives.” I’ll add to the list a few of our own from the Lower Midwest: James Scurlock, Nina Pop, Michael Brown, and again, so many others.

As a magazine that prints just twice a year, The New Territory has never responded to a news headline. However, systemic racism is a condition that is embedded into the story of our country and region, and through the years our contributors have addressed the hurt and pain created by the patterns of our society. Here are articles related to communities and individuals finding liberation through community organizing, spirituality, protest, and the daily work of building a better world. During this week of Juneteenth, I am grateful to Melissa Stuckey and Julia Shiota for the idea to share these past New Territory articles that feel relevant to our moment. I likewise appreciate all the contributors who pulled through with updated images, edits and permissions on short notice so we can present their voices and ideas here.

For more reading of Black stories from our region, visit The Black Midwest Initiative’s extensive resource pages.

Our readers love the land we share, and they also love learning from the wide array of perspectives that grow from it. We have always encouraged women, people of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and people with disabilities to send their work our way. If you fit that bill and you write about life and landscape in the Lower Midwest, please submit. While our print capacity is limited in a given year, we are growing digital options to gather more voices from our region here online. Learn more about contributing to The New Territory on our submissions page.

Finally, we would like to build this page over time. If you have ideas on special projects or highlights, please get in touch with me at tina[at]

Tina Casagrand, Publisher

The New Territory