The State of Things

M-F 12 Noon, M-Th 8p, Sat 6a

We bring the issues, personalities, and places of North Carolina to you. We are a live show, and we want to hear from listeners. Call 1-877-962-9862, email sot@wunc.org, or tweet @state_of_things. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

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Battlescene from Civil War
Wiki Images / Wiki Images - Commons

 A new exhibit at the Rural Heritage Museum at Mars Hill University hopes to show people that the Civil War played out in North Carolina in complicated ways. 

Christina Pelech
Courtesy of Christer Berg

Photographer Christer Berg has spent the past few years experimenting with the art of portraiture. He started with a series of environmental portraits of individuals around the state, ranging from ballerinas to business people. 

LEONEDA INGE / WUNC

Protesters toppled a confederate monument in Durham last night. The statue came down during a demonstration against the violence that erupted in Charlottesville, Virginia this past weekend.

Line of women stand in graduation gowns.
Naomi Prioleau / WUNC

Nearly 20 percent of residents in Greensboro live in poverty, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. A new series by WUNC reporter Naomi Prioleau examines the specific barriers these individuals face as they try to change their economic future.

Art-O-Mat by Clark Whittington
Courtesy of Clark Whittington

Clark Whittington never set out to secure a spot in a famous art museum. The Winston-Salem artist instead dreamed of creating art for the masses. 20 years ago he repurposed old cigarette vending machines to sell and distribute pocket-sized black-and-white photographs.


Courtesy of Melissa Reaves

Melissa Reaves is a blues-inspired rock ‘n’ roll artist whose passion for entertaining has led her to perform more than 200 shows each year. She is an independent musician who collaborates widely throughout her adopted state of North Carolina and has released seven albums.

Laura Pellicer

For close to two decades, Richard Joyner fought to get away from the farms of Pitt County, North Carolina. He grew up in a family of sharecroppers and repeatedly witnessed racial and economic injustices. His family was never properly compensated for their labor, and his father was treated poorly by white land owners.

Later in his life, Joyner became the pastor for the small 300-person community of Conetoe, North Carolina. Within one year, 30 of his congregants died from health-related illnesses. He decided to return to farming to grow healthy food for his community.

(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

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. 

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.

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. 

Cindy Whitehead
Jennifer Robertson

Cindy Whitehead pursued a career in pharmaceuticals to help solve real problems that were affecting people’s health. She was especially outraged by what she perceived as sexism at the Food and Drug Administration after it rejected a new drug named Addyi that would treat low sexual desire in women. 

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

As tension persists in the Trump administration, former Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly stepped in last week as President Donald Trump’s chief of staff. 

Two Catharsis Production Educators
Courtesy of Catharsis Productions

 A Triangle-based comedy theater will close its doors later this month in the wake of assault and harassment allegations against its founder and director. He has denied the allegations, but the testimonies and resulting media coverage inspired a number of individuals in the theater and improv communities to start a more public conversation about how to create and maintain safe spaces. 

Steven Diaz of Mountain Lions
Courtesy of Steven Diaz

Singer-songwriter Steven Diaz allows the natural world to both sooth and inspire him. Under the name Mountain Lions, Diaz creates intimate and introspective songs that reflect familiar people and places. In his debut EP “Calm Wind, Starry Night,” Diaz explores motifs of nature and personal identity. 

Bull shark
Brook Ward - https://flic.kr/p/PtKaBo / Flickr - Creative Commons

Intertwining ocean currents off the coast of North Carolina form a unique environment for marine species. Both tropically-inclined and colder water animals mingle at the intersection of the Gulf Stream and the arctic Labrador Current. 

Alex Dornburg scuba diving
Courtesy of Alex Dornburg

By modeling the evolutionary biology of ray-finned fishes, Alex Dornburg is answering an array of cross-disciplinary questions. His research on fish’s “tree of life” has applications for creating public health reporting systems, fighting antibiotic resistance, directing reforestation efforts in Madagascar and overturning understanding of biodiversity in Antarctica. 

Actresses in 'The Women'
Courtesy of Lyman Collins

In 1936 Claire Boothe Luce wrote a play about New York socialites that reflected her own high-society life. Claire was the second wife of media mogul Henry Luce. “The Women” satirizes the role of women in society and their reliance on men. 

UNC Board of Governor's Committee
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

In a committee meeting of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors Tuesday, members voted to approve a litigation ban on the UNC Center for Civil Rights

Cast of 'Girls Trip'
Donald Traill/Invision/AP / AP - 2017

The comedy “Girls Trip” is a standout success from this summer’s blockbuster season. The movie is about four best friends who take a wild and raunchy trip to New Orleans, and since its release last month, it has faired well with both audiences and critics. Meanwhile rapper Jay-Z released his highly-anticipated album “4:44” at the end of June. 

Workers installing solar panels
skeeze / Pixabay - Creative Commons

A panel of three federal judges has set a deadline for lawmakers to redraw 28 legislative districts that were found to be racially gerrymandered. The judges have also determined that North Carolina will not have special elections this year. Meanwhile Governor Roy Cooper signed a bill that will boost solar energy in the state, but the new law also includes a moratorium on wind development through December 2018.

Crews working at the site of the damaged transmission line
Courtesy of the NC Dot

UPDATE: Officials now estimate between six and 10 days for power to be fully restored for Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands.

Governor Roy Cooper ordered a mandatory evacuation of tourists on the islands after a contractor sliced through a line carrying electricity from mainland Dare County late last week. The islands are now running on alternative backup generators, but residents are being advised to reduce their electricity consumption. 

Cover of 'Flood'
Courtesy of Melissa Scholes Young

Author Melissa Scholes Young is from Hannibal, Missouri, the city where writer Mark Twain lived as a child. The town is rooted in the mythology of Twain, and for Scholes Young it was the perfect place to set her first novel. 

Courtesy of Chris Holaday

Eastern North Carolina’s Tobacco State League only lasted for five seasons. From 1946 to 1950 teams including the Sanford Spinners and the Lumberton Auctioneers battled for baseball greatness and ticket sales. They entertained crowds eager for a return to normalcy after World War II. Many of the players had recently returned from war, others were college baseball stars, and still others were just hoping to make a better hourly wage than they could earn in the local mills.

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