Leoneda Inge

Race and Southern Culture Reporter/Co-Host, "Tested" Podcast

Leoneda Inge is WUNC’s race and southern culture reporter, the first public radio journalist in the South to hold such a position. She explores modern and historical constructs to tell stories of poverty and wealth, health and food culture, education and racial identity. Leoneda is also co-host of the podcast Tested, allowing for even more in-depth storytelling on those topics.

Leoneda’s most recent work of note includes “A Tale of Two North Carolina Rural Sheriffs,” produced in partnership with Independent Lens; a series of reports on “Race, Slavery, Memory & Monuments,” winner of a Salute to Excellence Award from the National Association of Black Journalists; and the series “When a Rural North Carolina Clinic Closes,” produced in partnership with the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism.

Leoneda is the recipient of several awards, including Gracie awards from the Alliance of Women in Media, the Associated Press, and the Radio, Television, Digital News Association. She was part of WUNC team that won an Alfred I. duPont Award from Columbia University for the group series – “North Carolina Voices: Understanding Poverty.” In 2017, Leoneda was named “Journalist of Distinction” by the National Association of Black Journalists.

Leoneda is a graduate of Florida A&M University and Columbia University, where she earned her Master's Degree in Journalism as a Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Business and Economics. Leoneda traveled to Berlin, Brussels and Prague as a German/American Journalist Exchange Fellow and to Tokyo as a fellow with the Foreign Press Center – Japan.

Ways to Connect

The pandemic tanked small businesses at an alarming rate. Entrepreneurs of color were hit hardest. Carolina Small Business Development Fund President and CEO Kevin Dick tells host Leonede Inge about what is being done to help small businesses stay afloat during the crisis. Plus, Tina Travis founded Errand Girl concierge service during the last recession, and has grown and adapted the business ever since.  


In 1898, the elected government in Wilmington, N.C. was overthrown by white supremacists who sought to undermine Black progress. The impact of the violent insurrection still lingers in the city today and illuminates existing national political tensions. In this special episode, Phoebe Judge, host of the podcast “Criminal,” shares that show's exploration into events that led to the violence and its aftermath.
 

 

The waitlist for a COVID vaccine can be long, and there isn't enough to go around. So some people are finding ways to jump the line. Host Leoneda Inge talks with Benjamin Money of the NC Department of Health and Human Services and WUNC Data Reporter Jason deBruyn about attempts to promote and protect equity in the vaccine distribution process.  


The pandemic has made it hard for singles to find romance, and for couples to keep it alive. Host Leoneda Inge interviews couples therapist Mary Hinson about how partners can reconnect after a bit too much time together. Plus, Laura Stassi introduces "Dating While Gray," the latest addition to the WUNC podcast family.

Gerry Broome / AP Photo

Updated at 1:30 p.m.

Mass vaccination events, like the recent untaking at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, hasten distribution but also come with a significant flaw. Deputy Health Secretary Benjamin Money says the events pose challenges for the state's mission of equitable distribution.

North Carolina Public Radio presents Pauli, a podcast about the power of one person to change what's possible for us all. Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and NPR One.

Inspired by the life, work and lasting influence of Durham-based civil rights activist Pauli Murray, this series explores the bravery and brilliance of a tireless hero for social justice. WUNC's Leoneda Inge takes listeners through three chapters of Pauli's journey as a battle-ready solider against racism and sexism and a spiritual mentor for today's justice advocates.

PAULI: EPISODE THREE

After spending decades fighting for gender equality and racial justice, Pauli Murray decided to unite her convictions for human rights with her religious spirituality.

In her early 60’s, Pauli entered a seminary and became the first Black woman ordained as an Episcopal priest in 1977. She brought to the priesthood the same power she’d carried as a firebrand all her life ― a power that is strengthened by women in the church today standing tall on Pauli’s shoulders.


PAULI: EPISODE TWO

In 1948, Pauli Murray began a years-long journey, crossing the country to document each state's segregation laws. The result was an exhaustive, 700-page tome. The text, published in 1951, may have a pretty unexciting title — “States' Laws on Race and Color”  — but its nickname is more glamorous: the “bible of civil rights law."

Pauli's work documenting discriminatory ordinances across the nation was pivotal to the NAACP’s legal team as they fought key battles against segregation in the mid-20th century. But Murray’s road to writing that bible was anything but easy, and she was often on the verge of having to forego the seminal project.


PAULI: EPISODE ONE

As a Black, queer, Southern woman, Pauli Murray endured a sinister combination of sexism and racism. She called this specific kind of discrimination Jane Crow, and no matter where Pauli  went, Jane Crow followed.

But Pauli refused to let that dictate her life. With the pen as her sword, Pauli fought to undermine Jane Crow’s grip on the lives of Black women, wielding the written word as a weapon for truthtelling.

As a legal scholar, she inspired the likes of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and helped secure equal rights for women. As a poet, Murray has given hope and resilience to countless women of color ― offering messages of brave love and bold defiance that resonate today.


There are several murals of Pauli Murray on buildings in downtown Durham, NC
Courtesy of the Pauli Murray Center for History and Social Justice

Learn more about the effort to rename a building on the campus of UNC Chapel Hill for Pauli Murray on this episode of WUNC's podcast Tested.  

If you drive around downtown Durham, North Carolina, there are several reminders that a Black woman named Anna Pauline Murray lived here. A decade ago, at the corner of Carroll and West Chapel Hill streets, a North Carolina Historical Highway Marker was erected in "Pauli" Murray's name. 

But a marker could never do justice to someone as influential as Pauli Murray: a civil rights activist, a lawyer, a poet, a priest, a powerhouse for change.

Pauli Murray was a powerhouse for social justice. She worked tirelessly as a lawyer, an activist, a poet, and a priest to push for racial equality and gender rights, and influenced the likes of Thurgood Marshall and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

She rarely received appropriate recognition during her lifetime, but global awareness of Pauli’s legacy grows more by the day. Now, a faculty movement at UNC Chapel Hill aims to honor the social justice warrior by naming a building after her. But the proposed commemoration comes with a complicated history.
 

  

Pauli Murray isn't a completely unsung hero of the Civil Rights Movement. She isn't exactly a household name either. Her brand of fighting for racial justice is defined by speaking truth to power, a tireless effort and a deep imagining of what was possible for a Black queer Southern woman during the Jim Crow era. Get to know the poet, priest and powerhouse for change on Pauli, a new podcast from WUNC.

  

The pandemic has shuttered traditional performing arts venues, but many artists have been inspired to create new shows to entertain the public while educating audiences about health disparities.

Host Leoneda Inge interviews playwright Dasan Ahanu, whose ethno-drama “A Crisis of Moments” was staged at North Carolina Central University this winter. Plus, Christina Rodriguez of Carolina Performing Arts previews the organization's virtual spring season.


Retired Four-Star Army Gen. Lloyd Austin will be the first Black U.S. secretary of defense. Host Leoneda Inge talks about what this historic appointment might mean for troops and veterans of color with David Chrisinger, an expert on white supremacy in the military, and Mary Tobin of the West Point Women's alumni association who mentors young Black officers.


Many African Americans have a healthy skepticism of a racist health care system. Now Black health professionals have an uphill battle to promote the COVID vaccine.

Host Leoneda Inge talks about trust in both the medicine and messaging with Meharry Medical College President James Hildreth, Duke Medical Center nurse Faye Williams and clinical trial participants Curtis and Benita Perkins.  


The deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol evokes memories of the only successful coup d'état on American soil, more than a century ago, when the government was overthrown in Wilmington, NC. Host Leoneda Inge talks with historians Jim Leloudis and Bob Korstad, co-authors of "Fragile Democracy," about how today's political landscape is haunted by ghosts of the 1898 Wilmington Massacre. Plus, Grammy Award-winner Rhiannon Giddens reflects on why the events of 1898 inspire her artistically.

  

New Year, New Hope

Jan 1, 2021

Host Leoneda Inge rings in the new year with astrologer Tali Edut and asks what the stars have in store for 2021. Plus poet and cultural historian Darrell Stover shares his favorite Kwanzaa principle.


The pandemic has only added to the obstacles immigrants in the U.S. face. Volatile federal policies, growing fees, and information gaps are some of what is keeping more people from obtaining American citizenship.

Host Leoneda Inge talks about what the path to that status looks like now with Juliana Cabrales of the NALEO Education Fund and Katherine Reynolds from Elon’s Humanitarian Immigration Law Clinic.

A mask is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but choosing which mask to wear isn’t always about protecting oneself from the virus. It's a decision that can also affect the likelihood of encountering racial profiling.
 


You may still be full from all you ate off this year's holiday menu, but now's a perfect time to think about food — especially what certain gastrointestinal responses can tell us about our bodies. Some of those responses might surprise you, as our gut health is even connected to our brain in fascinating ways.

This special episode features an exploration of our gut, or our "second brain," courtesy of the podcast Embodied.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging Americans not to travel this Thanksgiving as cases of COVID-19 continue to rise nationwide. That means many of us are rethinking a holiday that is grounded in sharing platters of food with family and friends.

Host Leoneda Inge talks with chef Stephanie Tyson, co-owner of Sweet Potatoes restaurant in Winston-Salem, about making the most of a different holiday season while staying safe and healthy. Leoneda also talks with members of Tall Grass Food Box, a food service helping Black farmers across the state; and we hear about the efforts of Urban Ministries of Durham to balance safety with community care for people experiencing homelessness.

For chef Stephanie Tyson’s sweet potato cornbread recipe, check out Leoneda’s feature on Tyson’s restaurant from 2014.


Leoneda Inge

The number of people testing positive for COVID-19 is surging. And there is also a growing number of people getting tested for the disease, for the first time. A program based at a historically Black university in Durham is organizing COVID-19 testing and collecting valuable data at the same time.

Any other year, Americans would be gearing up for the big Thanksgiving travel weekend; traffic jams and long lines at the airport would just be a reality of life. But TSA is quiet at Raleigh Durham International Airport, where the pandemic has cut air travel by two-thirds. Tested host Leoneda Inge talks with passengers and an RDU spokesperson about the changed travel landscape.

North Carolina is seeing record-breaking numbers of COVID-19 cases and related hospitalizations, and Black and Latinx people continue to make up a disproportionate share of them. Without a vaccine, public health experts say testing is a key tool for keeping COVID at bay, and strengthening access to testing in underserved communities remains a necessity. It's a compelling enough argument to convince host Leoneda Inge to get tested herself.

Leoneda talks with Deepak Kumar, director of NCCU’s Biomedical/Biotechnology Research Institute, about improving health services for communities of color. And she speaks with Dr. Cardra Burns and Ben Money from the NC Department of Health and Human Services about the state’s recent testing efforts.
 


You're not imagining it. Almost everyone is incredibly stressed out right now.

The American Psychological Association says the “2020 Presidential Election is a source of significant stress for more Americans than the 2016 Presidential race.” Not to mention COVID-19. And the economic downturn. And ongoing civil unrest.

Host Leoneda Inge examines our collective anxiety — what's causing it, how to recognize it, what to do about it — with Lynn Bufka, the APA's senior director of practice transformation and quality.

Then, Leoneda reconnects with an old friend, comedian Roy Wood Jr., who says it's never too soon to look for the humor in the heavy stuff, as long as you're making light of the right things. He's had plenty of practice as a political correspondent for The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.


Virtual learning has changed almost everything about the classroom experience in North Carolina, but implicit racial biases remain as a hindrance to students' education. Microaggressions and discriminatory behavior from teachers and other classmates can have detrimental effects on students of color, especially young children in preschool.

On this episode of the Politics Podcast, we feature the WUNC podcast "Tested," and its host Leoneda Inge's conversation with Iheoma Iruka, professor of public policy and director of the Early Childhood Health and Racial Equity program at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, about what's needed to create an “anti-bias classroom.”
 


Leoneda Inge / WUNC

Hannah McKnight, 20, is a "new voter." She's technically a junior at Duke University, but she took the semester off and started spending the past several weeks at the downtown Durham bus terminal. That's where she helped start Durham Drives.

Young voters, ages 18 to 30, are coming out in big numbers in the lead-up to Election Day. North Carolina ranks in the top states for early ballots cast by young voters, as Millennials and Generation Z look to make their voices heard this election season.

Host Leoneda Inge talks with young voters about their motivations to mobilize their peers. We also hear from David McLennan, political science professor at Meredith College, and Chavi Khanna Koneru, executive director of North Carolina Asian Americans Together, about the influence of young voters this election.
 


There's a fall tradition that plays a significant role in the lives of historically Black college and university graduates across the nation: homecoming. These events are centered around a football game, sure, but the matchup on the field is no match for the fellowship that takes place as alumni, family and friends gather on campus for a unique kind of annual reunion.

Of course, COVID-19 has changed all that this year. And so, there's an effort to celebrate HBCU homecoming season virtually, by making a monetary donation to these schools right now. Leoneda talks to Shauntae White, a professor at North Carolina Central University who started the online fundraising push, and to Gregory Clark, president of the Florida A&M University Alumni Association, about that economic hit HBCU campuses and the cities they're in will take in the absence of homecomings.

Then, Leoneda makes a trip to the North Carolina State Fair, which is closed for attractions but open to customers seeking a fried food fix. 


Virtual learning has changed almost everything about the classroom experience in North Carolina, but implicit racial biases remain as a hindrance to students' education. Microaggressions and discriminatory behavior from teachers and other classmates can have detrimental effects on students of color, especially young children in preschool.

Host Leoneda Inge talks with Iheoma Iruka, professor of public policy and director of the Early Childhood Health and Racial Equity program at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, about what's needed to create an “anti-bias classroom.”

Leoneda also discusses the disproportionate number of rejected mail-in ballots from Black voters in North Carolina, and hears from Pro Publica data reporter Sophie Chou about a recent analysis into mail-in ballots in the 2018 midterm election.


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