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.

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Courtesy of Keri Brown

Winston-Salem appears to be moving forward with the removal of a Confederate monument in the city. The statue’s contested ownership is complicating attempts to remove it. The United Daughters of the Confederacy has requested an injunction to prevent the city from moving the Confederate monument. 

Courtesy of Natalie Rodriguez/NC African American Heritage Commission

Negro Motorist Green Book was a critical resource for African-American travelers to find safe places to eat and sleep where they would not be targeted for their skin color. The resource was used by acclaimed musicians like James Brown and Ray Charles when they visited North Carolina. 

Mary Webb Nicholson a Greensboro native, become first woman in North Carolina to earn a private pilots' license, commercial and transport licenses. During WWII, she was among a group of American women pilots who assisted British Air Transport Auxilary.
Courtesy of Greensboro History Museum

The Ruth Wicker Tribute to Women is one of the first standalone exhibits in North Carolina to commemorate the specific achievements of women in the state. The interactive exhibit opened earlier this year in the Barber Park Event Center and documents 31 influential women from the 18th century to the present, including 10 who were “firsts” in their field or position.

Courtesy of Casey Noel

Casey Noel is hesitant to categorize her music into a particular genre. She draws influence from a large swath of artists ranging from the rock band Creedence Clearwater Revival to Adele. Noel plays guitar, sings and started writing her own music three years ago. She will soon be recording songs for a debut record. 

Courtesy of Jose Galvez

José Gálvez was a 10-year-old shoe-shine boy when he first stepped foot in the newsroom of the Arizona Daily Star. His entry into that building was his first step in a decades-long career as a photojournalist that would eventually earn him a Pulitzer Prize for public service journalism. His winning series, like much of his work, showed the positive and mundane side of life in Latino communities in America.

Mark Harris at hearings into allegations that his campaign committed election fraud.
Rusty Jacobs, WUNC

The North Carolina State Board of Elections is calling for a new vote in the state’s 9th Congressional District. The unanimous decision came after four days of dramatic hearings into allegations of election fraud by the campaign of Republican Mark Harris. 

Courtesy of Edwin Castellanos

When thousands of Central Americans moved en masse toward the border between Mexico and the U.S. in 2018, violence and poverty were named as the culprits behind the immigrants’ journey. But according to Edwin Castellanos, another factor could be just as much to blame. 

Faith Jones in a field of flowers.
Courtesy of Faith Jones

Music is in Faith Jones’ blood. Her father plays piano; her mother sings, and the two met in a band in the 1980s. Growing up, Jones and her family listened to a wide range of music around the house, from jazz to classic rock. 

AP IMAGE
Juli Leonard/The News & Observer via AP, Pool / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Updated at 4:40 p.m

There will be a new election in North Carolina's 9th Congressional District. The unanimous decision from the North Carolina State Board of Elections comes after four days of dramatic hearings into suspected election fraud.

photo of Bill Ferris and Marcie Cohen Ferris
photo courtesy of Bill Ferris

William Ferris is known around North Carolina as a folklorist — a man whose passion is to chronicle the stories, music and culture of the American South. His love for documenting his communities began as a boy.  At 12 years old, he was given a camera and began to take photographs around his neighborhood in Warren County, Mississippi. There are tales of young Ferris taking a reel-to-reel recorder to record hymns at church. 

 Harper Watters (The Houston Ballet) dancing
photo courtesy of Nu Arts Productions

Saturday morning dance classes around the country are filled with little girls dreaming of becoming the next Misty Copeland. But what happens when a young boy dreams of becoming the next Mikhail Baryshnikov?

Photo from the ICE raid at Bear Creek Arsenal in Sanford.
Courtesy of Ilana Dubester

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents detained at least 200 people in North Carolina earlier this month. In a press conference, ICE Atlanta Field Office Director Sean Gallagher told journalists that more visible enforcement is a direct consequence of decreased cooperation between ICE and local law enforcement agencies. 

'We do this because the world we live in is a house on fire and the people we love are burning.'  - Sandra Cisneros
Courtesy of Keith Dannemiller

Sandra Cisneros is best known as the author behind the literary classic “The House on Mango Street,” a book that has been translated into over twenty languages. She has penned poetry, short stories, novels and essays. These days, beyond writing, the acclaimed author is spending a lot of time listening. 

A picture of a jail cell
ALEXVAN / PIXABAY

A new paper from Duke University concludes that North Carolina should end the sentence of life without parole for juvenile offenders. “Juvenile Life Without Parole in North Carolina” looks at the cases of 94 people sentenced to life without parole as juveniles in the state and finds almost half of them have been overturned. 

Portrait of Max Roach, Three Deuces, New York, N.Y., ca. Oct. 1947.
William P. Gottlieb / Library of Congress

North Carolina-born jazz musician Max Roach carved out a creative legacy in music that spanned genres. Roach grew up in New York City and during the 1940s he drummed alongside artists like Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. 

His recordings were innovative and during the civil rights movement, even political. To honor Roach, Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center is hosting a restaging of Roach’s “We Insist! Freedom Now Suite” recording.

From the 'Pop América, 1965-1975' exhibit at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.
Courtesy of the Nasher Museum of Art

Many people associate pop art with American artists like Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, but there were many contributions to the movement from outside the borders of the United States, notably from Latin American artists. A new exhibit at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University called “Pop América, 1965-1975” shares the work of artists from the Americas, from Tierra del Fuego up to Anchorage. 

Tara Dunsmore is a nurse who uses ink to heal.
Courtesy of Tara Dunsmore

Tara Dunsmore is a nurse by trade, but after her own experience with breast cancer, she found a new way to help others heal: tattoos. After undergoing a double mastectomy and breast reconstruction, Dunsmore uncovered a gap in the healing process: how to recreate a realistic-looking nipple. 

Several communities in rural North Carolina struggle with water infrastructure maintenance.
Courtesy of Flickr user mycieau

A number of North Carolina communities are struggling to access safe drinking water. A WRAL investigative team tracked two decades of data and uncovered high rates of water violations, which are most pervasive in rural areas including the towns of Carthage and Butner in central North Carolina. 

Courtesy Tom Merrigan's Hot Raccoons

Raccoons. For many, they are scheming trash denizens and a neighborhood scourge. But musician Tom Merrigan has a deep and mildly obsessive relationship with the creatures and shares their propensity for night roams and mischief. His band name, Tom Merrigan’s Hot Raccoons, is a tribute to that bond. 

Transitioning from economics to art, this Cameroonian sculptor is inspired by the environment around him.
Courtesy of Jean Michel Dissake

Jean Michel Dissake was an economics student at the University of Douala in Cameroon when he made a radical shift: He left school and spent the next nine years living in the forest. He spent his days interacting with the trees and the river, and this deep connection with nature spawned an artistic passion and a career as a sculptor. 

Matteo, left, and his older brother Caleb play in their backyard in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Kindergartener Caleb practices lockdown drills at his school and so does his little brother Matteo, who is in preschool.
Courtesy of Adhiti Bandlamudi / WUNC

Last year more than 4 million children participated in a school lockdown drill. The exercises are ostensibly a way to train and prepare students, teachers and administrators to keep safe in the event of an active shooter. But no research has been done into the psychological effect of these drills on the children they aim to protect.

Courtesy of Sonali Dev

Romance novels made up almost a quarter of the U.S. fiction market in 2016, second only to general fiction. Some people may think of the genre solely as Harlequin-published books with a man who looks like Fabio on the cover. But romance fiction encompasses more than this stereotype. 

A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrest.
Wikimedia Commons

Last week U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents detained at least 200 people in enforcement actions around the state. Officials raided a gun manufacturing plant in Sanford and arrested people at traffic stop check points in various cities. 

Screenshot from the award-winning film, 'Minding The Gap.'
Courtesy of Kartemquin Films

Bing Liu documented skaters in his hometown of Rockford, Illinois for more than a decade. Through the years, that footage became a complex documentation of youth culture featuring two young men who open up about the pressures of adulthood, abusive families, and modern masculinity. 

Professor and Performer E. Patrick Johnson.
Courtesy of E. Patrick Johnson

Scholar and author E. Patrick Johnson knew from experience what it was to be “othered.” As a black, gay man who grew up in the South, he belonged to multiple communities that were marginalized and attacked. He documented oral histories of men with similar identities in his 2008 book “Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South.”

Kindergarten students TT Askew, Alicia Garcia Elvira, Haylen Lovelace and Mercy Nelms are students in Jakeli Swimmer's Cherokee language and culture class at Robbinsville Elementary.
Liz Schlemmer / WUNC

Marty Richardson was in high school when he started a deep dive into the history of his people:  the Haliwa-Saponi Indian Tribe. He emerged from dusty library archives with the epiphany that his ancestors spoke Tutelo-Saponi, a language that had since nearly disappeared. 

As a little girl in Taiwan, Jan-Ru Wan grew up expressing herself not by speaking but through making things. Creating art and working with material allowed her to connect her feelings to the world around her. 

Official portrait of U.S. Representative Walter Jones
U.S. Congress

U.S. Rep. Walter Jones of North Carolina died this Sunday at age 76. He was the second in his family to serve in Congress and was known for voting across party lines and for crossing those lines himself. He served as a Democrat in the North Carolina General Assembly for five terms before switching to the Republican party ahead of his first run for the U.S. House. 

Dr. Charles Van Der Horst speaking at 2017 ID Week.
Courtesy of Charles Van Der Horst

Throughout his career, Dr. Charles van der Horst has always prioritized close relationships with his patients. He was on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic in the state and opened up an AIDS ward at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the 1980s. 

Women members of Congress, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., center, cheer after President Donald Trump acknowledges more women in Congress during his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington.
J. Scott Applewhite / AP Photo

President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech struck analysts as both bipartisan and deeply divided. He called for unity and shared bipartisan victories, and he also promised he would build a border wall and warned lawmakers that there cannot be peace and legislation while there are ongoing investigations. 

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