Southern Heroes

Special Issue

Making a Southern Stand

The best of the most distinctive region in the country could be vanishing before our eyes


30 Southern Heroes

From conservationists to cultural champions to preservationists to storytellers, these groundbreakers are making the South a better place

Southern Heroes

Rhiannon Giddens: The Storyteller

With her innovative albums, a ballet, and now an opera, the musical genius elevates neglected pieces of Southern history to works of art

Southern Heroes

Ronald Kendall: The Quail Doctor

The Texan is helping bring back the bobwhite, icon of Southern game birds


Sarah Ross: The Seed Restorer

The Georgian works to perpetuate the South’s heirloom crops

Southern Heroes

Eric S. Martin : The Lighthouse Keeper

The preservationist relighting the way in the Florida Keys

Southern Heroes

Cindy Ayers Elliott: The Agrarian Evangelist

The upstart Mississippi farmer brings a new mindset to tending the land

Southern Heroes

Wendell Berry: The Poet of Place

A conversation, in letters, with one of the South’s most vital voices

Southern Heroes

Walt Wolfram: The Accent Advocate

The professor of sociolinguistics tracks the distinctive speech of the South

Southern Heroes

Hub City Writers Project: The Literary Lights

A South Carolina trio elevates the work of Southern storytellers

Southern Heroes

Craig LeHoullier: The Tomato King

This propagator of the Cherokee Purple preserves and protects the South’s favored summertime crop

Southern Heroes

Fawn Weaver: The Whiskey Benefactor

The co-founder of Uncle Nearest, the most-awarded new whiskey brand in the country, keeps an undersung distiller’s legacy alive

Southern Heroes

Liz McCartney & Zack Rosenburg: The Rebuilders

This couple sprang into action constructing houses after Katrina—and haven’t stopped since

Arts & Culture

Franklin D. Vagnone: The Firebrand

The Winston-Salem director is revolutionizing how house museums embrace a hands-on approach to history


Amir Touré, BJ Dennis, and Sallie Ann Robinson: The Torchbearers

Three guardians of Gullah Geechee culture work to help their Lowcountry traditions not only survive, but thrive


The Cajun Navy: The Rescuers

Through hell and high water, the Louisiana groups form a river of relief

Southern Heroes

Darius Rucker: The Music Maker

The country star turns his gaze on history with the new National Museum of African American Music in Nashville

Southern Heroes

Karen Amspacher: The Maritime Defender

The North Carolina native advocates for the culture of the Down East region

Southern Heroes

Doug Naselroad: The Teacher

The Kentucky luthier helps addicts in recovery by teaching them how to make musical instruments

Southern Heroes

Rudy Reyes: The Coral Commando

The Marine sergeant and his fellow Force Blue veterans find peace while diving to preserve vital coral tracts off Florida