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More Tunes And Tales From Vegas: American Songster Radio Episode 14

Aug 13, 2017
Gus Canonn, jug and banjo, Ashley Thompson, guitar, and Noah Lewis harmonica (Gus Cannon's Jug Stompers around 1928)
Public Domain/ WUNC

When Dom Flemons first came across the story of African American songster Gus Cannon, one fact took him by surprise.  "[Gus Cannon] was a blackface performer, but he was a black man," Flemons says, recalling his initial reaction.  "How can this be?  That you can have an African American man be a part of a type of entertainment that, when I’d read about it in books, they would say that it was demeaning to black people?"  

Jessica Allen / NextGen Radio

Juana Mikels still remembers the day she discovered her daughter’s talent for singing. Mary was 7 years old and heard the soundtrack to “The Sound of Music” for the first time.

“I could hear this voice booming out of the room. I had to open the door because I could not tell if it was Julie Andrews or if it was Mary,” Juana says. “And it was Mary.”

Now, Mary Mikels is 20 years old and wants to be the next Blind Idol.

“It could open up some doors that I might not be expecting and it could turn my whole life around,” Mary says.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

This week on the WUNCPolitics Podcast, a conversation with Jeremy Loeb, Morning Edition Host and reporter at Blue Ridge Public Radio.

Jeremy joins Jeff on this politics podcast to discuss redistricting, the powerful U.S. House members from Western North Carolina, craft beer, and what he misses most about WUNC - where he used to work.

NC General Assembly; State Legislature.
Dave Crosby / Flickr Share-Alike

This week in North Carolina politics, a committee of state lawmakers approved criteria to use to draw state legislative maps; Sen. Thom Tillis' introduced a proposal to protect special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe; and heightened rhetoric between Washington and North Korea.

(5/26/17) Johnny Beck Jr. during interview at Franklin Correctional Center in Bunn, N.C. Beck is one of 67 former teen offenders in N.C. serving life without parole, even after U.S. Supreme Court ordered states to reconsider juvenile prison sentencing.
Gerry Broome / AP Photo - 2017

 In 2012 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a mandatory life sentence without parole for juvenile offenders is unconstitutional. Last year, the court said the ruling also applies to more than 2,000 inmates who were convicted as teens and are serving life sentences across the country. 

Courtesy of Michael Bojtos

 In the early 1970s it was not easy for LGBTQ people to be open about their sexuality no matter where they lived in the U.S. But those in the South had an especially difficult time finding safe and supportive spaces. 

Heather Victoria
Courtesy of Heather Victoria

When Heather Victoria decided to transfer to North Carolina Central University in 2009, she didn’t know she’d soon team up to make music with hip-hop scholar and Grammy-winning producer Patrick Douthit, also known as 9th Wonder

North Carolina legislative building
Wikimedia Commons

State lawmakers have approved a set of guidelines from which they will draw new political maps.

A picture of a sale sign in front of a home.
myguysmoving.com / Flickr, Creative Commons

Real estate agent Jessica Wood opens the door to an apartment in the Cotton Mill condo development and leads a prospective tenant inside.

Profile photo of Wendell Tabb outside WUNC Durham studios.
Courtesy Wendell Tabb

A drama teacher has sued his North Carolina public school district for racial discrimination in staffing and unfair compensation.

North Carolina Central University in Durham, NC
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

Volunteers are at the ready to help carry luggage and bedding at North Carolina A&T University's new student move-in on Friday.

DPAC, Durham, Broadway, Durham Revitalization
HuthPhoto

The Durham Performing Arts Center, which opened in 2008, is in the midst of a renovation project to upgrade its facilities. 

An image of prison bars
Alex Van / Pixabay, Creative Commons

In the past five years, 51 inmates in county jails across the state have died after poor supervision from jailers, according to a report by The News & Observer. 

death row jail cell
Christopher / Flickr - Creative Commons-https://flic.kr/p/4wekKV

On the stage stand six men who are serving sentences on death row. They have backgrounds filled with complexity and trauma, and they are the characters in the new play “Count.” 

WUNC's 2017 Youth Radio Institute students, from left to right: Endia Purdie, Skylar Fisher, Emmanuel Tobe, Star Smith, Loulou Batta, Katherine Gan, and Anthony Howard
Elizabeth Baier / WUNC

Every summer a group of teenagers pitch, report, write and produce radio stories as a part of WUNC’s Youth Reporting Institute. The young reporters pick stories that illuminate aspects of their community. 

Krispy Kreme says it will release a chocolate glazed doughnut for the solar eclipse.
Chuck Burton, File / AP

Krispy Kreme is going dark ahead of the solar eclipse set to cast a shadow across part of the U.S. later this month.

CollegeDegrees360 / Flickr/Creative Commons

There are two kinds of people in this world. The Ferris Beullers, who grin at the thought of a wild day playing hooky. And the Jeanie Buellers, whose eyes gleam at the thought of turning them in. 

 Which one were you during those formative school days? Were you the good-girl Sandra Dee from “Grease?” Or perpetually in detention like John Bender in “The Breakfast Club?” Did you rain torment on your peers a la Regina George in “Mean Girls?” Or pledge allegiance to a passionate teacher like John Keating in “Dead Poets Society?”

Crews continued to work on the Bonner Bridge project.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

Local governments on Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands say they want to come to an agreement on reimbursements for a recent power outage without going to court.  

a cat at an animal shelter
vectorbug / flickr, Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/dcP5YP

The Guilford County Animal Shelter is waiving adoption fees this month, in hopes of finding homes for all the 400 cats and dogs in its facility.

A map illustrates how NC DOT's three expansion options for I-440 would affect Meredith College.
Courtesy of NC DOT

Plans to expand I-440 in Raleigh could have a major impact on Meredith College. State transportation officials held a public hearing this week on proposed plans for the expansion.

Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck in 'Roman Holiday'
Classic Film / Flickr - Creative Commons -https://flic.kr/p/VkLRWH

Vacation movies may show off some of the world’s most beautiful scenery, but the most compelling films are the ones that show characters another side of themselves. Take a protagonist out of her usual environment and anything can happen.

North Carolina legislative building
Wikimedia Commons

State lawmakers have started the process of implementing new political boundaries for the 2018 election, after federal judges invalidated 28 legislative districts for illegally gerrymandering black voters.

Governor Roy Cooper's administration is proposing an overhauled Medicaid program that would combine behavioral health and primary health care.  

school supplies
Flickr via Robert S. Donovan

North Carolina's governor used the launch of a school supply drive on Tuesday to argue that the GOP has been inadequately funding education, forcing too many teachers to have to use their own money to buy pencils and paper for their students.

A stone obelisk honoring  Zebulon Vance
Travis / Flickr - Creative Commons -https://flic.kr/p/dsjqqa

 In the heart of downtown Asheville sits Pack Square, a bustling center lined by popular restaurants and ongoing construction projects. A stone obelisk stretches skyward from the center of the square honoring Zebulon Vance, North Carolina’s governor during the Civil War. 

gavel
wp paarz / Flickr - Creative Commons -https://flic.kr/p/GDRLvC

In 2014, tens of thousands of families fled Central America to the U.S. in an attempt to escape gang violence. Since that period, asylum requests in the U.S. have increased, but asylum approvals are declining.

winnow ant
Alex Wild

According to Eleanor Spicer Rice, ants have a range of personalities, from team player to charismatic. What she will not call them, however, are pests. 

FILE - In a Tuesday June 6, 2017 file photo, hydrologist William K. Jones, walks up a mountain near the route of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline in Bolar, Va.
Steve Helber, File / AP

A controversial pipeline project is getting some support from local elected leaders in the eastern part of the state.

Charles Bangley of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center leads his crew on an evening shark fishing trip on Pamlico Sound.
Jay Price / WUNC

Bull sharks and lion fish are among the species becoming more common in North Carolina, while black sea bass and other fish are getting harder to find.

Duke University President Vincent Price sat down with WUNC's Managing Editor Dave DeWitt for an interview.
Duke University

Vincent Price has been on the job as Duke University’s president for a little more than a month now. The former University of Pennsylvania Provost has been a leader in digital learning and building interdisciplinary opportunities.

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