Race & Demographics

The base of the Silent Sam statue stands surrounding by a fence.
Alex Foyler

The future of Silent Sam still remains uncertain. The Confederate statue has been stored in a secret location since its toppling last fall, and the UNC System Board of Governors has indefinitely postponed making a decision about its future.

Brian Lampkin looks down off camera.
Courtesy of Brian Lampkin

In the summer of 1973, three black men from Tarboro were sentenced to die in North Carolina’s gas chamber after being tried and convicted of raping a white woman. The story made national news, and Tarboro became the center of a larger conversation about race, civil rights and criminal justice. The men maintained their innocence and refused plea deals that may have lightened their sentences, but it was not until The Southern Poverty Law Center stepped in did they receive a new trial and a new chance at life.

A patch of new grass shows where the Confederate statue known as Silent Sam once stood.
Will Michaels / WUNC

On August 20, 2018, protesters toppled the Confederate monument at UNC-Chapel Hill known as Silent Sam.

One year later, the fate of the statue is still unclear, and questions remain about how the university should reckon with the issues of race that Silent Sam brought to the foreground.

Algonquin Tennis Club, Tennis, Durham, Arthur Ashe, Black Sports
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

A North Carolina Historical Highway Marker was unveiled Thursday, celebrating the all-black Algonquin Tennis Club. Tennis fans of all ages stood in front of the W. D. Hill Parks and Recreation Center in Durham for the unveiling on Fayetteville Street.

Image of the Simmons family.
Courtesy of Melody Hunter-Pillion

The number of black farmers in the United States has dropped exponentially since the beginning of the 20th century.  2017 data from the Department of Agriculture shows African Americans make up less than 2 percent of the country’s 3.4 million farmers. That year, there were just over 2,000 black farmers in North Carolina.

Madeline Gray / For WUNC

During the regular school year, Ty Mathis is a math and science teacher in the Alamance-Burlington School System. This summer, he's teaching mostly middle school African-American boys at a Bridge to Medical School Camp in Graham. The camp is designed to encourage boys of color to consider medical school.

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.

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.

Rogers Road, Sewer, Environmental Justice, Orange County
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

Orange County officials are reaching out to residents in the historic Rogers Road community to expedite sewer service. The historically African-American Rogers Road community has waited more than 40 years for water and sewer.

Rogers Road Neighborhood, OWASA, Landfills, Environmental Justice, Chapel Hill
Leoneda Inge

A 40-year old environmental justice situation that involved racial discrimination, broken promises and mistrust has finally been put to rest now that last sewer lines have been laid for the historically black Rogers Road neighborhood.

All of the former workers involved in the complaint are immigrants from Mexico, which they cite as a reason for their unfair treatment
Bob Karp / Indy Week

Five former employees of the Hampton Inn in Mebane filed a complaint in Guilford County Superior Court alleging wage theft totalling $24,681. They assert that money is from unpaid bonuses and vacation time, mileage reimbursement, a malfunctioning time clock and more.

Slaves, free black communities, and Quakers provided support to escaped slaves.
Flickr

The term “Underground Railroad” evokes the image of the legendary Harriet Tubman engineering daring escapes in a false-bottomed carriage or slaves following the North Star through dark woods. Researcher and longtime history professor Adrienne Israel says those popular images only tell a sliver of the story.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

House Judiciary Committee heard testimony about government reparations for African Americans. For the first time in more than a decade the House held a hearing related to reparations legislation, which was first introduced 30 years ago.

Carolyn Coleman serves on the NAACP National Board of Directors and as the First Vice President of the North Carolina NAACP
NAACP

Carolyn Coleman got her first taste of community activism as a young girl in a segregated community in Savannah, Georgia. She and her mother went door-to-door collecting signatures to advocate for neighborhood improvements. She continued to work for civil rights and social justice for close to six decades.

Courtesy of Christina Proenza-Coles

History tells stories of America being founded by George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson, and discovered by Christopher Columbus. While many have challenged Columbus’ high importance in the history books, a new publication reveals a wave of settlers, conquistadors and revolutionaries that came long before the Europeans. These “founders” were of African descent.

North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources

On Friday, June 14, a highway marker in Halifax County will be dedicated to Louis Austin, an Enfield, N.C. native and the former editor of Durham’s preeminent black newspaper.

Louis Austin served as the editor of the "Carolina Times" from 1927 until his death in 1971.
Courtesy of Jerry Gershenhorn

For more than 40 years the “Carolina Times” was the preeminent black newspaper in North Carolina. It covered the day-to-day happenings in Durham, but its power and reach went far beyond the Triangle.

While much of the country was suffering during the Great Depression, Nathan Garrett’s family found a safe haven in Durham, North Carolina. At the time the city was fertile ground for the African American entrepreneur, and the Garrett family ran the local pharmacy. Nathan learned the ropes of running a business, and he fondly remembers a community that was proud and self-sustaining. He eventually left Durham to attend Yale University, where he was part of the largest influx of African American students the university had known: a class of four.

a black and white photo of the front of the North Carolina Mutual building
Archives, Records, and History Center/North Carolina Central University

As Durham celebrates its sesquicentennial, host Frank Stasio invites a panel of community leaders, business owners and activists to look back at the history of the Bull City and trace how its economy, politics and culture have shifted in the past 150 years. They home in on Black Wall Street: a four-block district on Parrish Street that was once a mecca for black-owned businesses.

Courtesy Jared Yates Sexton

Jared Yates Sexton rose to prominence for his coverage of President Donald Trump’s political rallies in the lead up to the 2016 election. His reporting culminated in the book “The People Are Going to Rise Like the Waters on Your Shore: A Story of American Rage,” and his interest in the culture surrounding Trump only continued to grow. 

Photo of Mia Ives-Rublee with her dog Vezzini
Chris Riggs / Courtesy Mia Ives-Rublee

Mia Ives-Rublee grew up surrounded by adults who were worried about her well-being. She has Osteogenesis imperfecta, a genetic bone disorder more commonly known as brittle bone disease, and uses a wheelchair to get around. 

black and white photo of protesters holding signs
From the Raleigh News and Observer Negative Collection/Courtesy of the State Archives of North Carolina / bit.ly/2Qsjbm2

Coastal Hyde County is the site of one of the longest and most successful civil rights protests in American history. In 1968 the African American community boycotted Hyde County schools in response to the county’s desegregation plan.

Historic Preservation, NCCU, College Heights, National Register
Leoneda Inge

A well-known African American neighborhood in Durham has been added to the National Register of Historic Places. The College Heights Historic District makes up 12 city blocks in southeast Durham. One reason for its name – the neighborhood is bordered by North Carolina Central University – a historically black institution.

Historic Stagville, Stagville, Slavery, Durham
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

This Mother’s Day weekend, the Stagville State Historic Site in Durham is remembering the enslaved women who once toiled on the plantation. Researchers are still discovering the voices of these women.

a casino facility
Courtesy of Cleveland County

A Congressional bill that would make way for a new casino is sparking controversy in western North Carolina. The bill would allow the Catawba Indian Nation to establish a gaming facility in Cleveland County. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians say this new casino would hurt their facilities in Cherokee and Murphy.

The book cover featuring a photo of Isaac Granger Jefferon, a Virginia tinsmith circa 1847.
Amanda Magnus/WUNC

The slave narrative was the first form of literature indigenous to the United States. William L. Andrews analyzed more than 60 slave narratives published between 1840 and 1865 for his latest book, “Slavery and Class in the American South: A Generation of Slave Narrative Testimony, 1840–1865” (Oxford University Press/2019).

Kadiza Sultana, left, Shamima Begum, centre and and Amira Abase
Metropolitan Police via AP, file

A new study from psychologists at North Carolina State University suggests that counter-terrorism experts miss an important piece of the puzzle when they focus on the process of recruiting men.

Research assistant and PhD candidate Christine Brugh is lead author of a new report, "Gender in the jihad: Characteristics and outcomes among women and men involved in jihadist-inspired terrorism."

Howard Lee, Chapel Hill, Civil Rights
Town of Chapel Hill

Fifty years ago today, Howard Lee was elected the first African American mayor of the town of Chapel Hill. There hadn't been an African American mayor of a predominately white Southern city since Reconstruction.

Poverty, Poor People's Campaign, Mass Incarceration
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

The North Carolina Poor People’s Campaign is wrapping up its statewide bus tour today in Raleigh. They plan on joining school teachers for the May 1 demonstration.

NCCU, HBCU, Confederate Monument, North Carolina Central University
Leoneda Inge

North Carolina Central University officially unveiled the new name of its administration building Wednesday. The name of former North Carolina governor, Clyde Hoey, a known segregationist, is no longer on the building at the historically black institution.

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