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Meet Heather Williams

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Heather Williams experienced racism for the first time when she moved to Brooklyn from Jamaica at 11 years old. That’s when she discovered that black was considered bad in the United States, though she didn't know why. Her high school library’s Black Studies section began her education in racial history. Her fascination with the subject would lead her to one day become a civil rights lawyer, and later, a teacher of history.

Today, she is an associate professor in the History Department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She teaches about African Americans during the 18th and 19th centuries, a period that encompasses the Civil War and slavery. As part of the North Carolina Voices series commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the start of the Civil War, Host Frank Stasio talks to Heather Williams about her life and the experience of African Americans during the war.

Alex Granados joined The State of Things in July 2010. He got his start in radio as an intern for the show in 2005 and loved it so much that after trying his hand as a government reporter, reader liaison, features, copy and editorial page editor at a small newspaper in Manassas, Virginia, he returned to WUNC. Born in Baltimore but raised in Morgantown, West Virginia, Alex moved to Raleigh in time to do third grade twice and adjust to public school after having spent years in the sheltered confines of a Christian elementary education. Alex received a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also has a minor in philosophy, which basically means that he used to think he was really smart but realized he wasn’t in time to switch majors. Fishing, reading science fiction, watching crazy movies, writing bad short stories, and shooting pool are some of his favorite things to do. Alex still doesn’t know what he wants to be when he grows up, but he is holding out for astronaut.
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.