Anita Rao

Producer, "The State of Things"

Anita Rao is a producer for The State of Things, WUNC's daily, live talk show that features the issues, personalities and places of North Carolina. She fell in love with interviewing and storytelling as a Women's Studies and International Studies major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and began her radio career at WUNC as an intern for the nationally distributed public radio program The Story. From 2011 - 2014, she worked for the Peabody Award-winning StoryCorps Production department, where she pitched, edited and produced conversations from across the nation--from Chicago, IL to Pineville, North Carolina.  

Anita was born in a small coal-mining town in Northeast England but spent most of her life growing up in Iowa and has a fond affection for the Midwest. She loves excessively-long dinner parties and hopes to one day live up to her mom's nickname, "Sheila, The Chocolate Eater."

Ways To Connect

Chad Stevens

Last weekend marked the fifth anniversary of the Upper Big Branch mine disaster in West Virginia—the nation’s worst coal mine disaster in decades. Massey Energy, one of the largest American coal companies, ran the mine, and its CEO Don Blankenship has since been indicted on charges that he deliberately concealed health and safety violations at the mining site.

Image of UNC-Chapel Hill's Battle Hall building.
UNC-Chapel Hill Library

In 1915, former UNC President Kemp Plummer Battle sent a sealed box to the North Carolina Historical Society that contained two items: a letter and a Montgomery Ward catalog.

He wanted these objects to serve as an impetus for reflection on the past at two distinct points in the future—1965 and 2015. In 1965, Chancellor Robert B. House honored the request with an essay detailing major changes he had witnessed in the past 50 years. But this year, the UNC-Chapel Hill History Department is taking a more playful approach. They have asked four faculty members from distinct backgrounds to reflect on changes in American society from their perspective—from a look at leisure in America to an examination of modern-day advertising.  

The John Hope Franklin Young Scholars worked together to write and published a novel about a Durham teenager.
David Stein

More than 30 Durham Public School students recently published a novel that combines fact, fiction and illustration.

“Running For Hope” (John Hope Young Franklin Scholars Program/ 2015) is a creative attempt to explore the life story and impact of historian John Hope Franklin while documenting the modern-day challenges of growing up as a teenager living in a diverse community. It interweaves the fictional story of 9th grader Kendrick Parker with illustrated scenes from Mirror to America, an autobiography by John Hope Franklin. 

North Carolina writers share how their state inspires them in "Amazing Place: What North Carolina Means to Writers."
UNC Press

From Thomas Wolfe to Lee Smith, the state of North Carolina is home to a wealth of literary greats.

But what is it about the Tarheel State that inspires these authors? That's the prompt Marianne Gingher asked 21 North Carolina writers. Their answers form a new creative nonfiction collection called Amazing Place: What North Carolina Means to Writers (UNC Press/2015).

Native Appropriations And New Media

Mar 31, 2015
Adrienne Keene is the Cherokee writer behind Native Appropriations.
Matika Wilbur

Washington's NFL team made headlines last year but not because of their record.

The name, offensive to many, became the subject of public debate. Native communities used social media to make their voices heard on the mascot debate and other important issues.

Every place holds stories—of people who lived there, died there, or passed through at some point in their life. 

Family Secrets is a new song cycle performance debuting this weekend that explores the relationship among places, people and secrets.

Katy Clune

Hot, salty/smoky, sour/bitter, sweet, savory, and sharp: a flavor profile can evoke a particular style of food, and in turn, food can give insight to a community’s public health, history and policies. This week, students, faculty, entrepreneurs and community members at UNC-Chapel Hill gather to explore the history, politics and culture of North Carolina food using the six flavor profiles as a guide.

The State of the Plate conference will be held at the FedEx Global Education Center on Friday, March 27 and Saturday, March 28.

CJ Scarlet

CJ Scarlet is an entrepreneur who believes that technology can curb violence. She founded the company 10 for Humanity that aims to use emerging technology to reduce acts of crime and violence by 10 percent in the next decade, starting with the Tiger Eye Sensor, a wearable personal security device that will record video footage and call the police when a wearer yells “help.”  

A photo from Grenada, Miss., where Nan Elizabeth Woodruff studies the legacies of terror and violence against people of color.
Matthew Nichols / Flickr Creative Commons

  This year marks the 50th anniversary of many monumental moments of the civil rights movement.

And a group of scholars and activists gather today at the National Humanities Center to push for increased dialogue about how the historical violence against people of color continues to resonate today.

Image of Greensboro Skyline
Wikipedia Commons

Two controversial redistricting bills passed last week in the Senate are headed for debate on the House floor. 

Senate Bill 181, introduced by Republican Chad Barefoot of Wake County, modifies the boundaries for Wake County Commissioner Seats. Senate Bill 36, introduced by Republican Trudy Wade of Guilford County, reconfigures the Greensboro City Council to a seven-member body in which the mayor has no voting power.  Both bills raise questions about the role of state lawmakers in controlling local governing bodies. 

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