The State of Things

WUNC's The State of Things brings the issues, personalities, and places of North Carolina to you.  The State of Things Podcast presents new stories every weekday with topics from our show.  To subscribe:Get a daily show update and special news. Subscribe to our podcast on Google Play or iTunes.  Or, use the links at the right.Visit the main SOT page.

Archived illustrated image.
North Carolina State Archives

Even before the Lost Colony, great waves of emigration and migration were reshaping the region now known as North Carolina. As foreign empires invaded the land, new alliances and identities formed between the Tuscarora People along the coast and freed West Africans and Caribean Natives.

An afro-indigenous woman's face edited over the image of an indigenous young man.
Courtesy of Damola Akintunde and Crystal Cavalier-Keck

Indigenous Peoples’ Day reimagines Columbus Day to celebrate the other side of European “discovery.” These celebrations advance concrete political causes, such as the re-establishment of land rights in the Piedmont.

Gray playing his guitar in front of a mic.
Anita Rao / WUNC

Barry Gray’s debut release is the culmination of a family man’s slow-burning reflections.

Andre Vann standing with a table of NCCU's history.
Courtesy of Andre Vann

Andre Vann has always been enchanted by the stories of others. He grew up in a small, tight-knit community in Henderson, N.C. that was founded by his great-great-grandmother. He was rooted to his family history in that neighborhood, surrounded by his relatives and close family friends.

Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff at a press conference.
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Impeachment is once again at the center of this week’s newscycle. Now Congress has text messages from U.S. diplomats discussing President Donald Trump’s interactions with the Ukraine.

Courtesy of Dr. Chris Kelly

When did you last look up your symptoms online? Medical tomes and doctors visits were once necessary for diagnosis; now the internet makes medical knowledge — both amateur and professional — available to the masses.

Sign on a tree that reads 'Ocracoke is greater then Dorian, we got this!'
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

A month after many North Carolinians witnessed little to no damage from Hurricane Dorian, one of North Carolina’s barrier islands is still desperate for help.

A woman waiting for a commuter train.
Pxhere

Human trafficking continues to be an insidious and widespread problem in North Carolina. The  exploitation of people for sex or for labor can happen in a wide range of situations, from illicit massage parlors to farm operations or even well-frequented restaurants.

Bacteria
CDC/ Dr. Francis Chandler

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services continues to investigate an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease believed to be contracted at the Mountain State Fair held in Fletcher, North Carolina last month.

The cable loops through the gun to keep it from firing.
Raul Rubiera

In 2017, the homicide rate in Charlotte peaked to its highest number in close to two decades. That statistic and trends so far this year prompted an investigation by reporters at The Charlotte Observer and The News & Observer.

Hinman setting up the bee hive.
Courtesy of Alice Hinman.

Last year, Alice Hinman knew there was something wrong with her bee hives. And her honeybee colonies were not the only ones struggling to survive — across the country, colony collapse disorder was wreaking havoc on commercial honey production and agriculture that depends on pollinators.

NC legislative building
Wikimedia Commons

Former North Carolina Republican Party Chairman Robin Hayes will plead guilty to charges that he lied to FBI agents.

Book cover showing a young Earl Scruggs with playing a banjo.
Courtesy of University of Illinois Press

Two minutes and 40 seconds of lightning-fast picking propelled bluegrass music into the mainstream. "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" written by Earl Scruggs and first recorded by Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys in 1949 helped bluegrass move from a subgenre of country to a popular and recognizable sound for American audiences.

Okra is a seed-to-stem plant, meaning that every part of the organism is edible.
Peter Taylor

Writing off okra as a slimy pod is a great injustice, according to Chris Smith. The garden writer and seed saver is an okra aficionado who asserts that while the vegetable may have a unique texture, it is a surprisingly versatile piece of produce.

Photo of the panel.
UNC / Abby Cantrell

The internet has a hate problem. Trolls, white supremacists, and other hate groups spew vitriol and harass users on social media. The First Amendment protects hate speech, but the internet further blurred the line between speech and crime.

A boarded up window with pain that reads 'At least it's not snowing...'
Jason DeBruyn / WUNC

Politicians worldwide felt the heat on climate policy this week after a reported four million protesters took to the streets. The leader of the Global Climate Strike, Greta Thunberg, told world leaders that they had “stolen her dreams.”

Kelley leaning against a counter in a TV repair shop.
Courtesy of Irene Kelley

Irene Kelley has been a force on Nashville’s Music Row for decades. She spent 20 years writing or co-writing hit songs for country artists like Ricky Skaggs and Loretta Lynn. But at the same time she was quietly working on her career as a performer.

Photo of the five members of the band posed with their instruments outside.
Courtesy of Carolina Blue

Bluegrass band Carolina Blue formed out of necessity.

Photo of a prison cell.
Pxhere

North Carolina has been in the midst of a prison staffing crisis for years. In 2017, shortages at the Pasquotank Correctional Institution in Elizabeth City contributed to a violent escape attempt that left four prison workers dead.

Photo of some of the cast members.
Areon Mobasher Photography

A Louisiana high school became the subject of national debate and controversy in 2007 after six black students were accused of attempted murder after a high school fight.

Press photo for Zoocru.
Courtesy of Zoocru

Durham’s Art of Cool music festival is the brainchild of jazz lover Cicely Mitchell and trumpeter Al Strong.

A farm worker out in the field.
U.S. Department of Agriculture /

New proposed rules from the U.S. Department of Labor could impact tens of thousands of temporary immigrant farm workers who come to North Carolina each year.

There Is No Other Like Rhiannon Giddens

Sep 25, 2019
Headshot of Rhiannon Giddens
photo by Ebru Yildiz

Grammy Award-winning artist Rhiannon Giddens is a North Carolina gem. Though she splits her time between the U.S and Ireland, her commitment to the music, culture, and stories of the South is still the driving force behind her work.

A full-body mask that is white and includes the names of black men victimized by racist violence.
Courtesy of Fahamu Pecou

  

Artist Fahamu Pecou has been wrestling with stereotypes of black masculinity for his entire life. No matter how many degrees he earned or what job he had, he had the sense that he was only seen as a black body.

Rapsody posed for a headshot.
(Photo by Brian Ach/Invision/AP)

Billy Porter made Emmy history Sunday when he became the first openly gay black man to win lead actor in a drama category for his role in the FX series “Pose.”

Newton posed in a red beret and blue blouse on the balcony of The Carolina Theatre.
Beth Mann / Durham Magazine

As a kid Rebecca Newton loved performing for her family. Around the piano, she discovered her skill for harmonizing and found that showcasing her musical talents was a way to keep the peace in a tumultuous and sometimes violent household.

A close-up photo of Cokie Roberts.
Wikimedia Commons

The journalism community is in mourning over the loss of veteran broadcaster Cokie Roberts. Considered one of the founding mothers of NPR, Roberts blazed trails for women in journalism while helping to set the tone and standard for the emerging field of public radio.

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
Gage Skidmore / Creative Commons http://bit.ly/2mr6xsv

The U.S. Department of Education sent a letter to the Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies accusing them of misusing federal funds in their programming.

Grant Holub-Moorman / WUNC

Artists Alice Gerrard, Allison de Groot and Tatiana Hargreaves each has a rich musical career in her own right. But when they come together as a trio, the musicians open up space to exchange songs and stories across generations.

MOTR: The Best of Spielberg

Sep 19, 2019

Steven Spielberg’s work ranges from the gripping war drama “Saving Private Ryan” to the animated series “Pinky and the Brain.” He scared us with “Poltergeist,” and fascinated us with “Jurassic Park.” Spielberg made us laugh at “The Goonies” and cry in “The Color Purple.” Whether writing, producing or directing, Steven Spielberg is one of Hollywood’s elite filmmakers whose name is worth its weight in Oscar gold. This month we want to know about your favorite Spielberg movie? 

 

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