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The Un-Secret Secret Of North Carolina

Rare Bird Books

Author John Russell calls the 1898 Wilmington Massacre an “un-secret secret.” While there has recently been some renewed focus and attention on the racial massacre and its historical consequences, this ugly chapter in North Carolina’s history was largely unacknowledged just decades ago.

Part of that time period  — the 1990s — is the backdrop for Russell’s latest novel “All the Right Circles” (Rare Bird Books/2019). Protagonist Jack Callahan, an attorney, is dealing with the dissolution of his marriage, a mother in crisis and a professional dilemma. A major Wall Street firm is trying to take over one of his clients: North Carolina’s family-owned newspaper. After Jack learns about the deeper history of the business and its ties with white supremacy in the state, he begins to wonder whether it is an institution worth saving.

Host Frank Stasio talks to Russell about his interest in using fiction to examine the insiders and outsiders in the state’s political history and the role of the “un-secret secret” in 1990s Raleigh.

Amanda Magnus grew up in Maryland and went to high school in Baltimore. She became interested in radio after an elective course in the NYU journalism department. She got her start at Sirius XM Satellite Radio, but she knew public radio was for her when she interned at WNYC. She later moved to Madison, where she worked at Wisconsin Public Radio for six years. In her time there, she helped create an afternoon drive news magazine show, called Central Time. She also produced several series, including one on Native American life in Wisconsin. She spends her free time running, hiking, and roller skating. She also loves scary movies.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
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