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How The Black And White Dula Family Reconciled Their Past

Dula family reunions in western North Carolina include members of the black and white sides of the family. But for decades these two sides did not communicate or even acknowledge their relation. The two branches of the family started with a man named Alfred and a woman named Harriet. Before Harriet, Alfred had married a white woman and had six children, but his first wife died young. He then bought an enslaved woman named Harriet to help him with his family, and the two had eight more children.

Filmmaker Beth Davison explored this story in her recent documentary “Dulatown.” Davison is a faculty member at Appalachian State University and talks with host Frank Stasio about the process behind making the film. The two are also joined by members of the Dula family: Leslie Dula McKesson and Beth Hickman Hage.

McKesson is the author of “Black and White: The Story of Harriet Harshaw and Squire James Alfred Dula” (MLS Publishing/2013). She is also a retired dean of Western Piedmont Community College. “Dulatown” will be screened at the Meredith College Documentary Film Festival at Carswell Auditorium in Raleigh on Jan. 27.

Amanda Magnus grew up in Maryland and went to high school in Baltimore. She became interested in radio after an elective course in the NYU journalism department. She got her start at Sirius XM Satellite Radio, but she knew public radio was for her when she interned at WNYC. She later moved to Madison, where she worked at Wisconsin Public Radio for six years. In her time there, she helped create an afternoon drive news magazine show, called Central Time. She also produced several series, including one on Native American life in Wisconsin. She spends her free time running, hiking, and roller skating. She also loves scary movies.
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.