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 monthly remote broadcasts from Greensboro's Triad Stage. Check out our special recurring series: #BackChannel, Movies On The Radio and Embodied. You can also 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.

The Making Young Voters book cover
Courtesy of Sunshine Hillygus


What keeps youth voters from the polls? The longstanding assumption is that the under-30 electorate just does not care about that part of the political process. But a new book argues against that premise. 

A headshot of Blue Cactus
Courtesy of Blue Cactus

With a soulful blend of twang and spacey-rock tunes, the indie-country duo Blue Cactus is known for its country music sound. Steph Stewart and Mario Arnez released their EP “Finger on the Button” earlier this week with a titular track that they call their President’s Day anthem. 

George Ruiz

Childbearing in the United States is more deadly than in any other developed nation. Despite medical advances over the last few decades, the number of reported pregnancy-related deaths in the U.S. continues to steadily increase.

Courtesy of Jessica Ingram

While visiting Kelly Ingram Park in Birmingham, Alabama, photographer Jessica Ingram was struck by how familiar media images from the civil rights era, such as attack dogs and high-pressure water hoses turned on protestors, were memorialized in sculpture. She wondered what was left out of the dominant narrative of this time.

Flock Safety

Camera systems sold by the Atlanta-based company Flock Safety promise homeowners greater security. Flock cameras capture license plate numbers as vehicles come in and out of neighborhoods.

Courtesy of Alexis Pauline Gumbs

A multi-year, daily writing practice taught Alexis Pauline Gumbs a lot about what it means to listen. Deeply influenced by the black feminist author and scholar Sylvia Wynter, Gumbs’ daily exercise changed the way she thinks about the stories that define humanity and how she percieves her own ancestry.

Courtesy of Mary Haskett

Homelessness on campus does not always look the same as homelessness on the streets. It often means students without a place to stay end up couch surfing until they find a more permanent solution.

Kendall Bailey Photography

Ashley Wright relocated from her home in Clarksville, Tennessee to the Blue Ridge Mountains in 2016 to nourish her musical career. Since then, she has made a home for herself and her music in Boone. 

A bronze statue of four young men walking forward shoulder-to-shoulder with a blue sky behind them
Earl Letherberry

On Feb. 1, 1960, the fight for civil rights changed forever when four freshmen students from North Carolina A&T State University refused to leave a lunch counter at Woolworth’s Department Store in Greensboro. 

A colorful beaded top on a mannequin featuring the image of Mary and a cross above.
Courtesy of Lynn Neal

How did images of Jesus end up on our clothes? Historian Lynn Neal aims to answer that question in her latest book “Religion in Vogue: Christianity and Fashion in America” (NYU Press/2019).

The silhouette of a person in front of a broken stained glass window
Watkins Stained Glass Studio

Is it easier to turn the other cheek while packing heat? Like the Vedas, Torah and Quran, the New Testament’s verdict on violence and self-defense is a moving target.

A photo of Attorney General William Barr smiling
Evan Vucci / AP

Three Democratic presidential candidates have dropped out of the race in the last week: former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick, Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet and Andrew Yang all suspended their campaigns.

Courtesy of Mebanesville

The musical project Mebanesville started 20 years ago with just five friends playing in a new coffee shop.Two decades later, the project has seen band members come and go, but nobody ever really leaves for good.

Courtesy of Virtual MLK

In this current climate of persistent heated discourse, it can be easy to forget that there was a time when one well-delivered speech could change hearts and minds. Such a speech was delivered inside the sanctuary of Durham’s White Rock Baptist church in 1960.

Mikkey Girl / Disney

2.5 billion people around the world play video games. From Words With Friends to League of Legends, games are revolutionizing how we relate to one another. In many ways, gaming has become its own culture. But it might not be exactly what you'd expect. Most gamers play on their cellphones and nearly half are women. Most people playing video games are doing it with other people. And in response to hate-speech online and IRL, marginalized gamers are creating sanctuaries. On this edition of our Embodied series, host Anita Rao explores what gamers can teach us about socializing. 

Don McCullough / Flickr Creative Commons

A judge voided the deal between the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Sons of Confederate Veterans over the controversial Silent Sam statue.

Black man looks puzzled holding a comb while looking at his daughter's massive afro, with a plethora of hair products before them.
Sony Pictures Animation

What happens when a black father tries to do his young daughter’s natural hair for the first time? In the animated short “Hair Love” a battle ensues: The father wields a comb as his weapon, but his first attempt is a miserable failure.

Sign that reads: Water Filtration Facility, 7441 Poplar Springs Church Road Sanford, NC 27330
Greg Barnes

Research on chemical pollutants in North Carolina’s rivers and streams is stacking up, and the results are unnerving.

Man on stage looks out at audience.
Courtesy of Jeff Polish.

What would it feel like to stand up in front of a group of people you do not know and talk about some of the most personal moments of your life? It is a special kind of terror that is usually reserved for professional comedians or actors, but in the past few decades, more and more everyday folk have been trying it out through live storytelling events popularized by organizations like The Moth.

Courtesy of Jessica Yinka Thomas

Jessica Yinka Thomas grew up in both the United States and West Africa. Her father, a Nigerian economics professor, and her mother, an American computer scientist, raised their four kids between Miami, Nigeria, Senegal and eventually Maryland to get them ready for college in the states.

Liz Schlemmer / WUNC

ECU trustee Phil Lewis resigned this morning during a special session of the University of North Carolina System Board of Governors.

 

Matt Couch/WUNC

Who really owns Silent Sam? Archaic property law and a 1913 speech underpin the Sons of Confederate Veterans’ claim to the contentious monument torn down in Chapel Hill in 2018.

Sign reading "Mechanics and Farmers Bank Established 1908."
Wikimedia Commons

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks are iconic figures in the country’s Civil Rights Movement. But who led the charge in North Carolina? The prominent, but little-known black banker John Hervey Wheeler played a large role.

Wyatt Kane

Keenan Jenkins excelled in school, leaving his hometown of Rocky Mount in high school to attend the highly-selective North Carolina School of Science and Math. But music pulled him away from his studies, and midway through completing his doctorate, he came to the conclusion that his creative pursuits needed his full attention.

Courtesy of The Daily Reflector

Infighting among the East Carolina University Board of Trustees has spilled out into the public realm once again. In the latest scandal, two trustees, Robert Moore and Phil Lewis, are accused of trying to convince a student to run for ECU student body president so they could ensure a voting majority on their board. 

Bill Bamberger / Courtesy of Weatherspoon Art Museum

From its creation in the late 19th century, basketball captured America’s attention. What began with James Naismith and two peach baskets evolved into a multi-billion dollar industry with its reach extending beyond sports to marketing and fashion. 

Courtesy of The Daily Tar Heel

The storied Tobacco Road rivalry extends far beyond the walls of the Dean Dome or Cameron Indoor. Student journalists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s The Daily Tar Heel and at Duke University’s The Chronicle have always covered the leadup to the big game, but last year they started combining forces to create the “Rivalry Edition.” 

Frankie Leon

Earlier this week, Earth Fare suddenly announced Chapter 11 bankruptcy, surprising its 3,000 employees who are still awaiting the details of their severance packages. The closure was unexpected even for founder Roger Derrough, who sold the company in 2007.

Cup of black coffee.
Creative Commons

Warfare has been part of human existence since the beginning — and so have mind-altering substances. Drugs have funded wars, fueled soldiers on the battlefield, helped to expand and establish nationstates and more.

an ancient text showing a small black man and a large white man
Pseudo-Aristotle / Courtesy of UNC-Chapel Hill University Libraries

Pain treatment is different for white and black patients in the United States. One recent study shows black patients were 40% less likely to get medication to ease acute pain than white patients in the emergency room. Why does this happen?

Pages