Defend democracy in the South.

Exposing Injustice, Strengthening Democracy, Building Community for Change in the South

The Latest from Facing South

Online magazine of the Institute for Southern Studies

Institute for Southern Studies

The Institute for Southern Studies is a nonprofit research and media center that exposes injustice, strengthens democracy and builds a community for change in the South.

Through Facing South and other research, education, and outreach programs, the Institute draws attention to key trends and issues in the South, the growing national importance of the region and innovative work for lasting change.

Since our founding in 1970 by civil rights veterans, the Institute has gained a national reputation as an essential resource for community leaders, policy makers, journalists and others concerned about lasting change in the South.

Our Programs

Public Interest Media

Photo of a 2015 Fight for $15 rally in Atlanta by Hotlanta Voyeur via Flickr.

The Institute publishes the popular online magazine Facing South, featuring groundbreaking investigations into abuses of power, in-depth analysis of Southern trends, and voices of people working for a better South. The Institute’s journalism has won dozens of prestigious awards, including two George Polk Awards, a National Magazine Award and honors from the National Press Club, N.C. Press Association and White House Correspondents Association.

Southern Strategies Program

The South is growing and changing, shaping the national political agenda. Through the Southern Strategies Program, the Institute has delivered more than 50 keynote addresses, workshops and other outreach events in 12 states, and provided in-depth research and analysis about the South’s changing demographic, political and social change landscape for key partners including the AFL-CIO, Aspen Institute, Council on Foundations, Democracy Alliance, and the Ford Foundation.

Democracy Program

The South is "ground zero" for attacks on voting rights, Big Money influence in elections, political gerrymandering, and other barriers to democracy. Through investigative journalism, policy research, and educational outreach, the Institute’s Democracy Program works with local, state and national allies to bring the South closer to the ideal of “one person, one vote.”

Julian Bond Fellowship

In honor of the Institute’s late founder and civil rights hero Julian Bond, in 2020 the Institute launched the Julian Bond Fellowship Program. The Fellowship trains and mentors early-career social change journalists and researchers in the South.

Project Innovation and Incubation

Since 1970, the Institute has served as an incubator for dozens of innovative media, organizing and social justice initiatives in the South. Key projects sponsored and launched by the Institute in recent years include Carolina Public Press, Miami Workers Center, North Carolina Asian Americans Together, and the Southern Working Group.

A Voice for Change

For 50 years, the Institute has been your source for fearless journalism and a powerful voice for change in the South. Your support is critical to ensure the Institute will be a lasting force for justice and democracy.