Leoneda Inge

Race and Southern Culture Reporter

Leoneda Inge is WUNC's "Race and Southern Culture Reporter." She is the first public radio journalist in the South to hold such a position, which explores modern and historical constructs to tell stories of poverty and wealth, health and food culture, education and racial identity.

Leoneda's most recent work includes the series, "Perils and Promise," an in-depth series focused on the challenges of rural education in Vance County. Leoneda has also featured reports on "Organic Tobacco," "Rebuilding Slave Cabins" and traveled to Tokyo, Japan tracking the importance of North Carolina’s pork industry to that country.

Leoneda is the recipient of three Gracie Awards from the Alliance for Women in Media and several awards from the Associated Press, the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) and the National Association of Black Journalists. In 2006, she and a team of WUNC journalists won an Alfred I. DuPont Award from Columbia University for the series "North Carolina Voices: Understanding Poverty."

Leoneda is a graduate of Florida A&M University and Columbia University, where she earned her Master's Degree in Journalism as a Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Business and Economics. In 2014, Leoneda traveled to Berlin, Brussels and Prague as a German/American Journalist Exchange Fellow with the RIAS Berlin Commission/RTDNF.

Ways to Connect

RDU, Paris, Delta Air Lines
Leoneda Inge

The new non-stop Delta Air Lines flight to Paris, France from Raleigh-Durham International Airport took off without a hitch Thursday night.

Community and business leaders celebrated along with Delta staff.  They say the Paris flight is a sign North Carolina’s economy has rebounded since the recession, and is growing.

The Delta Air Lines, RDU, Paris party consumed at least four gates. There were balloons, sweets from Cary’s La Farm Bakery and lots of pictures.  But the real action was at gate C-15 as passengers prepared to board their flight to Paris.

jasleen_kaur / Flickr Creative Commons

A new collaboration between SAS and the Duke Clinical Research Institute will provide researchers from around the world with an enormous database of patients who have suffered from heart disease.

Matt Gross is Director of Health and Life Sciences Global Practice at SAS.  He says the database is the largest cardiovascular database around and will eventually help find new ways to treat heart disease.

Krispy Kreme, JAB Holding Company
Leoneda Inge

A German conglomerate is buying Winston-Salem-based Krispy Kreme Doughnuts in a billion dollar deal that will take the company private.

JAB Holding Company is buying Krispy Kreme for about $1.35 billion. Several experts say it’s a sweet deal. The German conglomerate is paying $21 a share, a 25% premium over what Krispy Kreme was worth at market close on Friday.

Bennett College for Women, Wells Fargo, Financial Advisors
Bennett College

There’s a national movement to make sure the nation’s financial advisors look like the clients they serve.

But before that can happen, there needs to be a larger number of financial advisors in the pipeline.

A new partnership between Wells Fargo and Bennett College for Women sets out to help solve the problem.

HB2, House Bill 2, Chambers of Commerce
New Media Campaigns

The state legislature begins its short session today. Regardless of the official calendar, the issue on many people’s minds is North Carolina’s new law limiting discrimination protections.  Local business groups are calling for its repeal.

Raleigh Police Shooting, Akiel Denkins
Leoneda Inge

No charges will be filed against the white Raleigh police officer who shot and killed a young black man he was trying to arrest back in February.

The Wake County District Attorney’s office has ruled that police officer D.C. Twiddy shot Akiel Denkins in self-defense.

Reginald Askew
Kartemquin Films

Thousands of documentary film-lovers are in Durham this week for the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival.  Close to 100 films from around the world will be featured, but one film in particular hits close to home.

The documentary “Raising Bertie” will have its world premiere at the festival.  It follows the lives of three struggling young men in Eastern North Carolina.

Robert Wagner, Bragg N East, Raleigh Police

The shooting deaths of black men by white police officers over the past few years has brought about much tension in city neighborhoods across the country.

They're raising questions like, “What happened to community policing?”

Perils And Promise, Vance County Schools, Carolina College Advising Corps
Carolina College Advising Corps

Trying to find the best path to success can be tough for students who don’t have enough support at home or at school.  This has been found to be true in many rural school districts, across the state, including Vance County.

To help address the problem, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill established the first college advising corps in the state, to reach those hard-to-reach students.  We take a closer look at the advising corps in our series, Perils & Promise: Educating North Carolina’s Rural Students.

Perils and Promise, Vance County Schools, Dropout Rates
Leoneda Inge

The path from cradle to college and career has been especially hard for young Black men.  Nationally, Black males have a lower high school graduation rate than White males and Hispanic males.


Public and private funds are now all accounted for to guarantee the new RDU to Paris flight takes off on time.

Perils and Promise, Rural Education, Advanced Placement
Leoneda Inge

Some teachers and schools administrators say one of the biggest obstacles to success for public school students in rural communities is poverty.  And research shows if you are poor, you have a good chance of being overlooked for gifted, honors or advanced classes.

In our series, Perils & Promise: Educating North Carolina’s Rural Students, we spoke with students in an Advanced Placement class in Vance County about their path to success.

Anthony Jackson, Vance County Superintendent, Vance County Schools
Vance County Schools

Many of North Carolina’s rural school districts sit in the middle of communities with struggling economies resulting in high unemployment rates, poverty rates and high school dropout rates.

A picture of a student doing school work.
Marco Arment / flickr.com/photos/marcoarment/1969185955

North Carolina is home to more Early College High Schools than any other state. New numbers show some of the most successful programs are in rural school districts.  Early College High Schools make it possible for students to earn an Associate’s Degree while still in high school. 

Pat McCrory, Gov McCrory
Wes Gappens / NC Chamber

Business leaders, bankers and policy-makers gathered in Research Triangle Park for the annual Economic Forecast Forum sponsored by the North Carolina Bankers Association and the North Carolina Chamber.

People First Tourism, NC State, Chris Smith
People First Tourism

A new tourism venture aims to help travelers wander off the “beaten path” and help small entrepreneurs at the same time.

It’s called “People First Tourism.”  Duarte Morais is an Associate Professor of Equitable and Sustainable Tourism at NC State.  He is also the CEO of "People First Tourism."  He says money can be made by providing authentic experiences for visitors.

“For tourism to really benefit local communities there should be a lot of locals involved in tourism as small business owners," said Morais.

Duke released a new study that looks at the high depression rate in clergy members.
public domain

A close-up look at American churches shows women clergy have hit a “stained-glass” ceiling.

Mark Chaves is a Duke University professor of Sociology, Religious Studies and Divinity.  And for nearly 20 years, he has been studying congregations of all faiths and denominations.  He directs the National Congregations Study.

Chaves says, one thing that has stood out – the number of women leading churches has not budged.

The Carolina Theatre today
Josh Hofer / The Carolina Theatre

The Carolina Theatre of Durham has been celebrating record attendance and revenue—up 42% in the past two years—from $3.5 million to $5 million.

But theater administrators revealed yesterday that because of accounting "errors and omissions," they are actually more than $1 million dollars in debt.

The theater receives an annual $650,000 subsidy from the city of Durham, and City Manager Tom Bonfield is trying to understand the magnitude of the problem.

Leoneda Inge

The Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates today but experts say that’s unlikely to slow down the real estate boom in the Triangle. Most of the action is in Wake County, especially in Fuquay-Varina and Morrisville. 

Operator work on infusion pharmaceutical industry
xmagics / Dollarphotoclub.com

Vance County no longer has the strong economic based it used to have in textile manufacturing.  Today, it’s becoming more and more clear one of the best workforce opportunities for workers here is in advanced manufacturing.  But like many in rural communities, Vance County residents will likely have to leave home for these jobs.

Thinglass / Shutterstock.com

There’s good news on the jobs front for 2016.  That’s according to the latest Duke University – CFO Global Business Outlook Survey.

Chief Financial Officers say they expect to increase hiring by about 2.4 percent in the New Year.  And wages should jump almost 3 percent.

But John Graham, a Finance Professor at Duke and director of the survey, says CFOs still struggle with finding qualified employees.

Perils And Promise, Rural Education, Vance Public Schools
Leoneda Inge

Like many rural counties, Vance County is not bustling with manufacturing jobs anymore.

In fact, the largest employer in Vance County is the school district.  Its main offices sit in the former textile headquarters of Henderson and Harriett Mills, a testament to the changing economy.  

In our series Perils & Promise: Educating North Carolina’s Rural Students, we follow a group of 10th graders to their first career fair.

Collards, State Farmers' Market, Thanksgiving
Leoneda Inge

'Tis the season for turkey, sweet potatoes and green bean casserole!

Well, around these parts, many tables may forgo the canned green beans for fresh collard greens.  The sturdy big-leafed vegetable is a staple for holiday meals, especially popular in the South.

NCCU. College Graduates, End Zone

North Carolina Central University is recruiting thousands of former students for a new degree program in Behavioral and Social Sciences.

The new program will be offered to students online and face-to-face.  Dean Debra Parker says it’s part of the “End Zone” program, encouraging former students to return to school and graduate with a degree that has eluded them for years.  "End "Zone" symbolizes the NCCU spring graduation ceremony that takes place on the school's football field.

Physician Assistant, Duke Medicine, Rural Health
Leoneda Inge

This is the Affordable Care Act’s third open enrollment season and Obama Administration officials expect at least one million more people will enroll by the end of next year. 

The increase in the country’s insured population has resulted in major growth in one profession in particular – the physician assistant. This year, Duke University is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its Physician Assistant Program, the oldest in the country.