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

An Electric Marriage

Jan 10, 2011

A surprising but not shocking marriage was announced in North Carolina today.  Two – well branded utility companies – decided to get hitched. And if regulators approve the merger of Duke Energy and Progress Energy – the union will form the largest utility company in America.

Duke Energy and Progress Energy officials announced today they are merging their companies. Duke Energy will be the name of the combined company. Its headquarters will be in Charlotte and it will become the largest utility in the country. Progress Energy C-E-O William Johnson will be the new Duke Energy leader. He says the merger is good for North Carolina:

Latest numbers show – the North Carolina unemployment rate has increased in every corner of the state.

Wells Fargo Economist Mark Vitner
NC Chamber of Commerce

National and state economies are expected to improve in 2011 – but by only just a little bit.

Yesterday’s Economic Forecast Forum in Research Triangle Park was about telling the hard truth.  Wells Fargo Senior Economist Mark Vitner:

"We’re still on a path that we’re seeing extremely modest job growth."


Billie Redmond is trying to stay optimistic.   She’s the CEO of Coldwell Banker Commercial Trademark Properties in Raleigh.

More than one thousand people are gathering in Research Triangle Park today to hear the latest news on the 2011 economy. Economists are already saying it should be better than 2010.

  One big draw at this year’s Economic Forecast Forum is outgoing U-N-C president Erskine Bowles – who is also known for serving as co-chair of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.  Thad Woodard is President and C-E-O of the North Carolina Bankers Association.  He says Economist Mark Vitner of Wells Fargo will give the forecast:

Drive-By Art

Dec 29, 2010

The department of transportation’s Wildflower Project has received much praise over the years. North Carolina DOT officials say they hope their new arts policy for state highways and byways will also get a lot of attention.

Some arts projects already in place include the metal leaves on the pedestrian bridge in Cary spanning US 1-64 and the mural under I-240 in Asheville. 

Don Lee is the State Roadside Environmental Engineer for DOT.  Lee says the new policy will help guide the placement of public art.  He says North Carolina has a good track record:

Time For KWANZAA

Dec 27, 2010

Many folks are taking down their Christmas trees this week – but in some communities, celebrating continues with the African-inspired Kwanzaa.

North Carolina joins other state and local governments in fighting fraud and crime thanks to technology developed at SAS Institute.

Governor Bev Perdue thanked SAS over and over for its expertise in advanced analytics technology.  She says in these tough economic times it saves the government money to be able to improve public safety and reduce fraud.

Perdue says she remembers taking her concerns about Medicaid fraud to SAS:

2010 Census Results

Dec 21, 2010

Today, the first round of 2010 U.S. Census results will be released. States are anxiously waiting to find out if they get a new congressional seat or not.

I guess you can say today is Apportionment Day. Apportionment is the process dividing the 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives among the 50 states.

Wayne Hatcher is the Census Regional Director based in Charlotte.

" In 2000 the state of North Carolina gained one additional district, the 13th district for the state.  It’s a big deal to gain a district, it’s a big deal to lose a district as well."

State Jobless Rate Up

Dec 17, 2010

New numbers out today paint a struggling jobs picture for the state of North Carolina.

 North Carolina lost more jobs in November than any other state. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics – the state lost 12-thousand 500 jobs.

That may explain why the state’s unemployment rate crept up by a tenth of a percent to 9-point-7 percent in November.

Rockwell, `The Problem We All Live With,` 1963, oil on canvas, 36 x 58in., Illustration for Look, Jan. 14, 1964
Norman Rockwell Museum Collection, NRM. 1975.1, Licensed by Norman Rockwell Licensing, Niles, Ill.

American Chronicles – The Art of Norman Rockwell is currently on display at the North Carolina Museum of Art.  It has traveled the country since last Spring.  The exhibit includes some 40 original oil paintings – chronicling six decades of Rockwell’s work – and a complete set of more than 300 Saturday Evening Post covers.  Rockwell was meticulous in creating scenes of American life – whimsical and idyllic.  During the latter part of his life – he took his work out of New England and captured what was transforming the south – the Civil Rights movement.

America has not reached the peak of the foreclosure crisis. But a survey by Fannie Mae says that hasn’t hampered people’s dreams of home ownership.

North Carolina is among the ten states hit hardest by foreclosures this year - up there with Florida, California and Ohio.  Doug Duncan is Vice President and Chief Economist at Fannie Mae – the Federal National Mortgage Association.  He says their 2010 Own-Rent Analysis says no matter the person’s race, geographic region or income –aspirations of home ownership are strong.

CFOs More Optimistic

Dec 15, 2010

Chief Financial Officers say they are a lot more optimistic about the economy in this last quarter of 2010 than they were just a few months ago.

More than 800 CFOs from across the country – representing public and private companies – were surveyed by Duke University and CFO Magazine. 

Kate O’Sullivan is Senior Editor at CFO Magazine.  She says 50-percent of the CFOs surveyed say their companies plan on spending money in the new year on everything from research and development to full-time hiring.

The wife of former presidential candidate John Edwards is being laid to rest today.  Hundreds of supporters and some protestors have vowed to gather outside the service.

Elizabeth Edwards is being remembered as a mother, wife author and role model for many across the country.   It’s her celebrity that is drawing a radical, anti gay protest from Kansas to Raleigh.  George Reed is the executive director of the North Carolina Council of Churches. He says hundreds of people have joined the council in denouncing Westboro Baptist Church.

Black farmers in North Carolina and across the country are celebrating the signing of a bill authorizing payments to settle a racial bias lawsuit.

For decades – African American farmers have complained to the government about discrimination from the United States Department of Agriculture – or USDA.  With the stroke of a pen – President Barack Obama signed the Claims Resolution Act of 2010 – freeing up 1.15-billion dollars in settlement money. 

Pres. Barack Obama at Forsyth Tech
Jennifer Rotenizer, Winston-Salem Journal

There have been encouraging signs the economy is no longer shrinking – but growing.   President Barack Obama told a crowd in Winston-Salem yesterday he will continue to fight for investments in education and innovation – a move he says will help continue the country’s economic recovery.   The president’s words were welcomed by students and staff at Forsyth Technical Community College where they’re in the business of re-invention and re-training.

President Barack Obama will be in North Carolina today visiting students at Forsyth Technical Community College.

President Obama’s visit is the highlight of a year of celebrations at Forsyth Tech. The community college is 50-years-old.  For the first time in the school’s history – Forsyth Tech has more than 10-thousand students enrolled. Many of the students are laid off workers or those insecure about their current jobs.  Gary Green is president of Forsyth Tech. He says President Obama’s visit means a lot.

The US Labor Department is suing one of the country’s biggest food distributors for discrimination at its Lumberton facility.  

This long holiday shopping weekend is expected to out pace last year. And that includes online shopping.  Scot Wingo likes to track what is called – Cyber Monday – how much money online shoppers spend during the holiday weekend.  Wingo is C-E-O of Channel Advisor. The Morrisville-based company works with over three-thousand online retailers on how to be more efficient and make more money.

Wingo expects double digit online shopping growth:

Chaka Khan! Chaka Khan! It’s a name that just rolls off your tongue.  The famous R & B and “funk” superstar has a voice that has mesmerized fans for decades with its range and flexibility.  And who can forget the feathers and the hair!   Chaka Khan takes the stage in Durham this weekend.

Consert CEO Jack Roberts
Jack Roberts

New businesses to help save the planet are popping up everyday.  As a result, your ability to do environmental good may be closer to your finger tips than you think.  Already, there are pockets of households and businesses in North Carolina that are able to control their heaters and air conditioners online or from their smart phones.  They're living on a Smart Grid - that's becoming smarter and smarter every day.

As part of our series North Carolina Voices: Tomorrow's Energy, reporter Leoneda Inge has the story of one smart grid pilot project in Fayetteville.

Durham Sustainability Manager Tobin Freid
Tobin Freid

North Carolina has topped many lists in the past few years.  It's one of the fastest growing states and ranks high for its business climate.  But in energy efficiency, NC is wading somewhere in the middle of the pack nationwide.

Love And Gasoline

Sep 19, 2008

Love may make the world go around, but sometimes it may need a little gasoline to keep it going. North Carolina Public Radio asked listeners how the year's dramatic rise in gasoline prices has affected their personal lives.

Alvin and Omelia Garner
Leoneda Inge

On this day - June 23, 40 years ago, the first interracial couple in Orange County was married. Alvin and Omelia Garner got their marriage license a year after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down state laws forbidding such unions. To mark this year’s anniversary, the Garners decided to celebrate in style and have the wedding they never had.

Many workers at the Smithfield hog processing plant in Tar Heel North Carolina continue to speak-out about what they call "bad" work conditions. But yesterday instead of just speaking-out – hundreds of workers walked out.

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