The State of Things

M-F 12 Noon, M-Th 8p, Sat 6a

Host Frank Stasio.
Credit Ben McKeown / For WUNC

We bring the issues, personalities, and places of North Carolina to you. We are a live show, and we want to hear from listeners. Call 1-877-962-9862, email sot@wunc.org, or tweet @state_of_things. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Or join our live audience for remote broadcasts from Greensboro's Triad Stage and Raleigh's Museum of Natural Sciences. And you can listen to Political Junkie Ken Rudin Fridays on the program.

Get a daily show update and special news. Subscribe to our podcast on Google Play or iTunes.

Julie Scott / Wikimedia Commons

Tommy Wiseau’s film “The Room” is a textbook example of a cult movie. It made less than $2000 when it first opened in Los Angeles in 2003, got terrible reviews, and is dubbed by some the “Citizen Kane of bad movies.” Yet years later it became a huge hit.

Wayne Lawrence / ProPublica

For generations, black landowners in the South relied on informal agreements, instead of wills, to keep property in the family. In a new article from investigative news outlet ProPublica, reporter Lizzie Presser investigated the story of a Carteret County family’s land loss and how African Americans across the country lost about 90% of their farmland between 1910 and 1997. Host Anita Rao talks with Lizzie Presser about the political, economic and emotional cost of black landholders losing their family property.

Promotional material for the podcast of Reema Khrais standing in front of a receipt reading 'This is Uncomfortable.'
Courtesy of Marketplace

Do you follow up with friends about money they owe you, or do you let it slide? Would you pay your romantic partner to do the dishes? How about asking your coworker how much they make? The subject of money is ever-present yet it’s often one of the toughest conversations to broach with friends, family and colleagues.
 

Event dates are available on her website.
Deborah Triplett / Courtesy of Simon & Schuster

In the new young adult novel “Something Like Gravity” (Margaret K. McElderry Books/2019), author Amber Smith approaches the classic theme of first love, through a dark lens.
 

Imam Shane Atkinson was raised in Jackson, Mississippi, in a working-class white family.
Courtesy of Shane Atkinson

One of Imam Shane Atkinson’s first face-to-face encounters with Muslims took place while he was working at a tannery in Sturgis, Mississippi.

President Trump is expected to use federal records to collect data on citizenship.
Noah Forston / NPR

The investigation into President Donald Trump continues as the House Judiciary Committee authorized subpoenas for several current and former Trump officials including son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kusher. The Democrats are in search of proof of obstruction of justice.

In 'Going To Graceland,' Moose compiles tales from 22 pilgrims visiting the home of their idol, Elvis.
Courtesy of Ruth Moose

A hairdresser, a secretary, a preacher and a wrestler stand in the sun in a line of fellow pilgrims. They come from small towns in every nook and cranny of the South, their home-cooked lunches in hand, to seek the counsel and blessings of their patron saint, St. Elvis of Tupelo. While they gather together at the gates of Graceland, the pilgrims swap stories – some poignant, some silly, and only a few related to Elvis – to pass the time.

Vidal draws upon the traditions of Samba Reggae in his musical style.
Courtesy of Caique Vidal

Caique Vidal’s voice is robust and unequivocal over driving percussion and horn sections. In harmony with his band Batuque, the sound is rambunctious yet precise. The melodies spiral until you smile, and dancing feels required.

Edited image via Wikivisual/ Creative Commons

What do North Carolina students learn in school about the birds and the bees and what should they learn? At local school board meetings and at the state Capitol, parents, government officials and advocacy groups all vie for control over curriculum and funding.

Photo of U.S. Women's Team holding cup
Francisco Seco / AP Photo

The U.S. Women’s National Team took home the cup on Sunday in the FIFA final showdown against the Netherlands. Megan Rapinoe earned the Golden Boot trophy and the team racked up their fourth FIFA World Cup Champion win. Throughout the tournament, the U.S. players battled for dominance on the pitch, but also for a greater goal: equal pay.

Urologist Greg Murphy beat pediatrician Joan Perry to serve as the Republican candidate in the runoff election to fill the 3rd Congressional District's seat in Washington.
Amy Townsend / WUNC

Republican voters in the 3rd Congressional District chose urologist Greg Murphy of Greenville over pediatrician Joan Perry in the runoff election prompted after the death of longtime North Carolina Rep. Walter B. Jones Jr.

Jeffrey Camarati / Courtesy of PNC

Renowned architect Phil Freelon has died after a three year battle with ALS.

Pooja Mehta wants to break the taboo around mental illness in the South Asian community.
Courtesy of Pooja Mehta.

One in five adults in the United States experience a mental illness, regardless of culture, race or gender. But there are cultural differences when it comes to seeking treatment: African Americans use mental health services at about one-half the rate of white Americans. Asian Americans seek treatment at about one-third of the rate of white Americans. What are the barriers to seeking help?

A young woman stands in front of a lake holding two small rainbow pride flags.
Lilly Knoepp

Every year, members of the United Methodist Church gather for their annual Western North Carolina conference at Lake Junaluska in Haywood County. Top of mind at this year’s meeting was the Traditional Plan, a ruling enacted at the general conference in late February that enshrines punitive measures to reinforce the church’s ban on gay clergy and prohibition against gay weddings. The Traditional Plan has emphasized a growing divide between conservative and progressive camps within the United Methodist Church.

Michele Lamping holds three sea turtle hatchlings out on the beach.
Courtesy of North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores

Hundreds of sea turtles climb onto North Carolina’s shores to lay eggs each year. The state has about 330 miles of ocean-facing beach that is potential nesting habitat for sea turtles. Four different species commonly nest in North Carolina: the loggerhead, green turtle, Kemp’s ridley and leatherbacks. All seven of the global species of sea turtles are listed as endangered or threatened. These turtles face many predators in the wild — and humans also pose a great threat.

Sarah Dessen is a North Carolina native and UNC alum.
Seth Abel

North Carolina native and author Sarah Dessen reads the obituaries in The News & Observer every day. Over the last few years she noticed more young people showing up in those pages with no explanations about the cause of death.

picture of Katie Mack staring up immersed in stars
courtesy of Katie Mack

Many kids take things apart to figure out how they work. They stare up at the stars and wonder how the universe functions. As a young child, Katie Mack did that too. But she eventually took that curiosity to the next level, and her childhood fascination led to a career in astrophysics.

a little angry man with his head turning red and ears blowing steam
Creative Commons

Rampant school shootings, mail bomb threats and a massacre at a synagogue give the impression that Americans are angry. And a quick flick through the news provides ample examples of leaders spouting angry rhetoric and encouraging violence. So, are Americans getting angrier?

Courtesy of Heather Evans Smith / Merge Records

Heather McEntire is best known as the lead singer and songwriter for the group Mount Moriah. After 10 years with the band, with three albums under their belt, the group took a hiatus, and McEntire tried her hand at a solo album.

A photo showing a bird's eye view of the student dig
Charles Ewen/ECU

Brunswick Town was once a thriving British port before the Revolutionary War. It was one of the first successful European settlements in the Cape Fear region until the British burned it down in 1776. Archeologists have been exploring the ruins for decades with the help of a map created in 1769, but recent findings are raising new questions about the town’s history.

a photo of the border wall at Progresso, Texas
Susan Harbage Page

Susan Harbage Page has been a border crosser since childhood. From traveling around Europe with her family in a Volkswagen bus to working in Palestine in the 90s, she has long wondered about the lines that divide us. Why do people on one side enjoy great wealth while those on the other side have less?

black and white photo of Etaf Rum
Angela Blankenship

Etaf Rum was on “the right path” according to many of her family members. She was married with children and had several degrees and a teaching job. She was doing everything right, but she felt stuck. Despite her education, Rum was living out the same pattern as her mother and many of the women of Palestinian descent that came before her. Though Rum was born in Brooklyn, her parents were born refugee camps in Palestine where they were raised by parents who spent their lives in refugee camps.

David Attenborough stands in front of promotional backdrop for "Our Planet" at the series premiere.
Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP

Man versus wild is an enduring theme in film that continues to draw movie-goers to the box office. From the 1998 IMAX epic “Everest” to the solo-survival story in “Cast Away,” movies about nature probe how experiences in nature shape human’s understanding of their own capabilities.

the graphic for the project 'On The Margins'
WFDD

As of 2016, Greensboro and Winston-Salem had the highest rates of evictions in all of North Carolina. 

A yearlong collaborative reporting project dove into the topic: exploring how evictions create a ripple effect in people’s lives, the role the Housing Authority of Winston-Salem plays in evictions there and a look at one redlined community in Greensboro. 

BOB FITCH PHOTOGRAPHY ARCHIVE / STANFORD LIBRARIES

Recently-released FBI files on Martin Luther King Jr. put his extramarital affairs back into the limelight. But a woman named Dorothy Cotton, who many only know as King’s “other wife,” deserves much more than the label of mistress, according to scholar Jason Miller, professor of English at North Carolina State University. She is a native of Goldsboro, North Carolina whose commitment to grassroots organizing led her from serving as a housekeeper to becoming the only female director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). She was charged with running the SCLC's education initiative, the Citizenship Education Program. Two years before her death in 2018, Cotton sat down for an extended interview with Miller.

 

  1. Long before he was CEO of Office Depot, Bruce Nelson was a young kid who had to work to earn his keep.

The US Supreme Court's ruling on North Carolina's gerrymandered districts was released on Thursday.
Creative Commons

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that political gerrymandering is beyond the reach of federal courts. Is this good news for Democrats or Republicans? Political Junkie Ken Rudin weighs in on what the gerrymandering decision means for North Carolina in particular.

Two women point to an exhibit poster showing young African American girls.
William Birkemeier

Established in 1868, the Jarvisburg Colored School is believed to be the oldest African American school still standing in the state. It was a functioning elementary school until 1950, and starting in the late 1990s, former alumni and the community began efforts to restore and preserve it. 

Image of The Hamiltones
Courtesy of The Hamiltones

Grammy-nominated trio The Hamiltones rose to prominence as Anthony Hamilton’s backing group, but the band is now stepping out on their own with the debut EP “Watch The Ton3s.”  

The majority opinion states that the drawing of electoral maps is too political for federal courts to get involved.
SUPERMAC1961 / Flickr Creative Commons

A conservative majority of the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that federal courts have no role to play in deciding partisan gerrymandering cases.

Pages