RSS FeedFacebookSearch
Gary Younge
Small town in a swing-state election

During the last presidential election, I spent a month driving from John Kerry's home in Boston to George Bush's childhood home in Midland, Texas, stopping en route to report from the swing states. It was a fascinating, beautiful journey that brought me in contact with a broad range of Americana.

I returned the day after the election to my home in Brooklyn, New York, where crestfallen friends and neighbours struggled to comprehend Bush's narrow victory. They questioned me as though I was an anthropologist who had been roaming around the hinterland questioning the natives. "What were they thinking?" "How could they do this?" "What is wrong with them?"

These questions seemed to refer to a foreign country with which they were not only unfamiliar, but which in many ways seemed to frighten them.

So this time round, rather than drop in on middle America, I decided to stick around in a town of the kind where the 2008 campaign would be decided. For the next few weeks I'll be in Roanoke, Virginia, a former railway town of almost 100,000 people that nestles in a valley between the Blue Ridge mountains and the Appalachians. I'll be trying to get a sense of how the issues here relate to what is going on nationally and vice-versa.

Why Roanoke? It's a relatively small town in a swing state with a sizeable African-American population. The poverty is slightly higher and the wages slightly lower than the US average.

As the largest town in the state for more than 100 miles in any direction, it is big enough to have its own airport. But it is small enough that a large proportion of the people flying seem to know each other and the staff quite well. The people seem friendly and a little eccentric. I hope those impressions hold. It'll be a long few weeks if they don't.

Gary Younge's dispatches and videos: guardian.co.uk/youngeamerica

© Gary Younge. All Rights reserved, site built with tlc
Another Day in the Death of America
book review
Younge’s masterwork. To be read through tears. Brilliantly reported, quietly indignant and utterly gripping. Naomi Klein
 follow on twitter
RT @meghanetinsley: Please join @movementsMcr on 9th June for what promises to be a fantastic discussion on anti-racist, anti-colonial acti…
RT @prospect_clark: 1. It’s been a privilege to edit @prospect_uk over the last 5 years Having moved to Yorkshire last summer, it’s now t…
RT @ManchesterUP: Massively deserved recognition - @LukeEdeNoronha's 'Deporting Black Britons' has been shortlisted for @britsoci Philip Ab…
RT @MsJeanRhys: So dull. I wish I could send a million dollars. A million dollars of Love.
Thank you Glasgow. https://t.co/qba4R3WSoR
RT @AlexCKaufman: A Black woman in Indianapolis had her home appraised twice at $110,000 and $125,000. She suspected she was being lowballe…
RT @blissbroyard: I was delighted to participate in this @BBCRadio4 radio documentary about the vagaries of racial identity and passing. Fa…
RT @HousmansBooks: 📢Pleased to announce a joint event with radical publishers @haymarketbooks 🔥Three outsanding speakers: @HarshaWalia in…
RT @Marie_MBallaNdi: Free webminar on how news media can advance diversity and inclusion! Journalists, educators, scholars and students! Re…
RT @shattenstone: And for old time's sake @garyyounge. When we were young(e) https://t.co/dSbmC7qPRB
© Gary Younge. All Rights reserved, site built with tlc