The State of Things

 

The issues, personalities and places of North Carolina right to you, every day in your podcast feed. Hosted by Frank Stasio and Anita Rao. Listen and subscribe on Google PlayApple Podcasts or wherever you get your favorite shows. Tweet us @state_of_things and see more show content on Facebook and Instagram.

 

A 1918 portrait of Charlotte Hawkins Brown
North Carolina Historic Sites

One hundred years ago this August, North Carolina declined the opportunity to be the deciding state to grant women the constitutional right to vote. The decision had come down to Tennessee and North Carolina, so Tar Heel legislators sent a telegram to their counterparts in Tennessee, urging them not to ratify and pledging that North Carolina would do the same. Fortunately, Tennessee ignored that plea and ratified the amendment, adding it to the U.S. Constitution.

Donn Young

  

  

  The 19th Amendment was a watershed moment for women’s rights in the United States, but it left many black women behind. The shortcomings of the suffrage movement inspired faculty-artists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the 19th Amendment Project, which is part of the UNC Process Series. The show explores women, power and politics and celebrates pivotal black activists.

Smithsonian American Art Museum

The McClatchy Company — which owns The News & Observer, The Herald-Sun and The Charlotte Observer — declared bankruptcy this month.While North Carolina’s printing presses will continue rolling, the papers’ offices will likely reorganize under a private equity firm’s management.

Counterpoint Press

As algorithms replace our news diet of local papers with each person’s favorite flavor of digital fervor, what happens to our political system? Online finger-pointing and illegitimate journalism are the product of a fractured American identity.

UNC Press

Adults have long ignored, dismissed or misinterpreted youth activists. President Trump’s tweets blasting teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg for her “anger management problem” is one very public example.

Wikimedia Commons

Dance has been a part of film since the early days of the visual medium. As the dance trends came and went, so did the movies portraying them on the silver screen.

Joe Shlabotnik/Creative Commons

North Carolinians will cast their ballots on Super Tuesday for the first time next week. Although we join 13 other states in voting that day, some pundits argue North Carolina is the key state, even “ground zero”  in this presidential election cycle.

A poster board covered in magazine cut-outs and photos related to health and wellness.
Courtesy of Bahby Banks

When the movie "Outbreak" came out in 1995, Bahby Banks was in high school, good at math and ready to join the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as an epidemiologist tracking disease. But the more she learned about the broader contextual issues of public health, the more she wondered about what happens after the numbers are collected.

Warren gesturing toward Bloomberg
John Locher / AP

Democratic candidates were at each other’s throats this week in the latest presidential debate in Las Vegas as the stakes of the race continue to climb. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg made his first debate appearance, and his fellow candidates targeted him on stage with several different attacks. 

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.

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.

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