Out of Many, One

E Pluribus Unum. Our founding national motto translates to “out of many, one.” It is a statement about our diversity, our connectedness, and our interdependence. Although our nation continues to make progress on race, we have also allowed ourselves to be divided by anger, hate, and fear. That has come at a deep cost for all of us.

We cannot break down the barriers of race and class as a divided nation. We can only fulfill America’s promise of justice and opportunity if we are united. This work begins in the South, where we have seen the darkest side of America’s history.

E Pluribus Unum was formed in 2018 with the premise that we must confront the issue of race head-on if we are to move forward. EPU’s mission is to build a more just, equitable, and inclusive South, uprooting barriers that have long divided the region by race and class. We believe our cities and towns will only thrive if they find a way to unite around a common purpose.

To better understand the ways in which systemic racism and economic inequality impacts Southerners, the E Pluribus Unum team traveled the South extensively, visiting 28 communities across 13 states. Our first report, Divided by Design: Findings from the American South, focuses on how residents experience issues of race and class in their communities. The report also identifies 15 key insights that will be used to build a more inclusive South.

Today, E Pluribus Unum is building programs and initiatives focused on cultivating and empowering courageous leaders who are advancing racial equity, changing the divisive narratives that perpetuate systemic and interpersonal racism, and championing transformative policy change to fight for our democracy. Through this work, we will create a more just, equitable, and inclusive South, setting an example for the rest of the nation.

“E Pluribus Unum” is Latin, meaning “out of many, one.” A long-held motto for the United States, the phrase was first included in a sketch for a national seal in 1776. Since 1782, it’s been included in the official Great Seal of the United States, which is affixed on formal State Department documents. It is most often depicted alongside the bald eagle, as it was in Charles Thomson’s 1782 seal. The motto describes the concept of forming a new nation through the union of the 13 original colonies. Some scholars believe that the nation’s founders likely saw the motto on the title page of a reader’s digest called “Gentlemen’s Magazine”, published in London. In 1786, the U.S. Mint produced the first coins marked with “E Pluribus Unum.” Today, the motto can be found on U.S. currency, on official documents, and across federal buildings. In a broader context, “E Pluribus Unum” connotes the many cultures of the melting pot of America coming together to form one union.




National Advisory Council