The State of Things

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Gloria Steinem author photo
Annie Leibovitz

Gloria Steinem, 82,  is one of the most iconic figures of the American feminist movement. Her legacy as a journalist and activist includes co-founding and editing Ms. Magazine, publishing writings on the intersecting barriers to women’s rights, and decades of organizing on the front lines of national and international feminist movements.

political cartoon by Keith Knight
Courtesy of Keith Knight

Whether it's an editorial cartoon or late-night comedy show, political satire is able to inform audiences while adding some much needed humor. It has been a part of mainstream media for centuries, but has taken many forms over the years.

Over the last year, Chapel Hill-based songwriter and producer Chris Stamey has been working on a narrative song cycle set in Manhattan in the early 1960s. Called Occasional Shivers, it centers around a circle of jazz theater performers and their experiences.

Taheshia Williams, center, tells her eyewitness account of the police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, in Charlotte, N.C. Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016. Scott's death on Sept. 20 led to protests and rioting.

Charlotte police say 16 officers were injured last night in clashes with those protesting the fatal police shooting of a black man.

Jim Obergefell
Emma Parker

When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on June 26, 2015, that same-sex couples have the constitutional right to marry in all 50 states, Jim Obergefell's long-fought journey was complete. 

Project Orfeo

Sep 21, 2016
Les Todd, Duke University Photography

Musician Jonathan Bagg, of Duke’s Ciompi String Quartet, enjoys putting on performances that combine the intellectual power of words with the emotional nuance of music. His latest hybrid is called Project Orfeo. It weaves two compositions together with readings by acclaimed novelist Richard Powers. The text is from Powers’ most recent novel, “Orfeo” (Norton, 2014), about an avant-garde composer turned biologist. Host Frank Stasio speaks with Bagg and composer Scott Lindroth about the literary inspiration behind the performance.

Travis Dove/Scalawag

For decades Charlotte-Mecklenburg's public schools were promoted as a model for the nation because they used busing to prevent school segregation. But a 1999 lawsuit reversed what the 1971 Supreme Court ruling had accomplished.

An image of author Colson Whitehead
Madeline Whitehead

In the 19th century, American slaves escaped to freedom using a network of secret routes and safe houses known as  the Underground Railroad. 

In his new novel, "The Underground Railroad" (Doubleday/2016), Colson Whitehead creates a literal network of underground tracks and trains for an enslaved woman to escape life on a Georgia plantation. 

The history books documented track star Jesse Owens' experiences at the 1936 Summer Olympic Games, hosted in Nazi-controlled Berlin.

But Owens was not the only African-American athlete to represent the United States of America. A new film, Olympic Pride, American Prejudice, documents the experiences of 18 African-American athletes representing a country that would not give them equal rights.

Hunter Lewis
Courtesy of Hunter Lewis

Hunter Lewis grew up in a big family in North Carolina where gathering for meals was the centerpiece of the day.

He deepened his passion for food when he moved to New York to work in some of the top restaurants in the city. Eventually he merged his love of food with his journalism skills. He became food editor at Bon Appetit, then editor of Southern Living and now, editor of Cooking Light.

Ken Rudin

  Hillary Clinton is back on the campaign trail after a health issue sidelined her for a few days.

And health becomes a key issue in the campaign. Donald Trump releases some of his medical details of the Dr. Oz show. 

Guest host Phoebe Judge talks with political junkie Ken Rudin about the latest in political news.

Roger Winstead

Nine months before he delivered his acclaimed “I have a dream” speech from the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a version of that speech to a crowd packed into a gym at Booker T. Washington High School in Rocky Mount, North Carolina.

An image of gospel singer Liz Vice
Peter Dervin

Growing up in Portland, Ore., Liz Vice didn't envision herself being a gospel singing. She wanted to be in acting, and eventually landed a job as a producer for the program "Portlandia."

But after she started going to a church in her hometown, she became enthralled with gospel music through the church's worship team. She started singing with the group and eventually recorded a solo album called "There's A Light."

photo of Congress
Lawrence Jackson,

Lawmakers returned to Capitol Hill last week for a short session before the November election. Their priorities include passing a spending bill to avert another government shutdown and coming up with a funding plan to fight the Zika virus. The pressure is on to adjourn the session quickly to allow embattled incumbents, like North Carolina’s Sen. Richard Burr, time to campaign in their home states.

An image of author Ron Rash
Ashley Jones / Clemson World

For 20 years, Ron Rash has been haunted by the murder of a young woman that took place near his home. Nobody was ever charged in the case. 

But over the years, Rash began to think about the two male college students who reportedly last saw her alive. This became the spark for his latest novel "The Risen" (Ecco/2016). The book tells the story of two brothers in Sylva, N.C. whose lives changed after they befriended a free-spirited young woman in the summer of 1969. 

Nina Totenberg, NPR legal affairs correspondent

  NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg has covered the U.S. Supreme Court for more than four decades.

In that time, she has seen a shift not only in the way the court conducts business, but also in the way individuals consume news about the court. 

Ask The Ethicist

Sep 14, 2016
Wikimedia / Wikimedia

What should you do if you know a friend is cheating on their spouse? Should you tell a friend who applied to your firm the real, but confidential, reason she did not get hired? 

Finding solutions to the ethical dilemmas of everyday life are the work of New York Times ethicist, Kwame Anthony Appiah. Appiah is a professor of philosophy and law at NYU. 

An image of the book cover for 'Walking Histories, 1800-1914'
Palgrave Macmillan

Walking may seem like a simple everyday act. But the act of walking has evolved over time, and a new book, "Walking Histories, 1800-1914" (Palgrave Macmillan/2016) examines how walking became a recreational activity and how it influenced both protesters and philosophers in the 19th century.


UNC-Chapel Hill Sophomore Delaney Robinson (right) and her attorney Denise Branch told reporters they believe the university is not adequately responding to Robinson's alleged rape.
Jess Clark / WUNC

UNC-Chapel Hill sophomore Delaney Robinson, 19, says neither the university nor local law enforcement have responded adequately to her allegations that UNC football player Allen Artis raped her last winter.

Jordan Green

Residents at the Rolling Hills apartment complex in Winston-Salem have alleged Section 8 housing fraud by management. They have been making complaints of housing code violations for months.

Host Frank Stasio speaks with Jordan Green, senior editor at The Triad City Beat, about the Rolling Hills story and larger issues of gentrification in east Winston-Salem.   


Image of Hank Willis Thomas's 'The natives will get restless'
ourtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

For a century, advertising campaigns have marketed products to white women by pairing phrases with images to construct a standard for white femininity. The contemporary art exhibit "Unbranded: A Century of White Women, 1915-2015" ​includes a visual chronology of advertisements without the original ad's accompanying text. The collection aims to explore the intersecting dynamics of  beauty, race and gender through decades of marketing.

Image of The Allen Boys
DaShawn Hickman

The pedal steel guitar sits on a stand with foot pedals used to adjust the tension of the strings. The instrument is part of the Sacred Steel musical tradition, which was invented in 1930s-era Pentecostal churches. North Carolina’s only touring Sacred Steel band is The Allen Boys.

Meet Nancy Petty

Sep 12, 2016
Pullen Baptist Church

As an activist pastor at Raleigh’s progressive Pullen Baptist Church, Nancy Petty is often making news. She is openly gay and has championed marriage equality and LGBT rights. She has led Moral Monday protests and chairs the Reverend William Barber’s Repairers of the Breach board. Most recently her work has focused on facilitating interfaith dialogue with Raleigh’s Muslim community and fighting Islamaphobia and racism.  Her transformative journey from her small town upbringing in Shelby, North Carolina, paralleled major social shifts happening in the churches she has served.

Voting sign
JustGrimes on Flickr

The North Carolina State Board of Elections makes final decisions on early voting schedules where the local boards couldn't come to an agreement. Leaders on both sides of the aisle weighed in. Will the election rules finally be set or will more legal action follow? Host Frank Stasio talks with WUNC Capitol bureau chief Jeff Tiberii about the latest. 

Retired New York City firefighter Joseph McCormick visits the South Pool prior to a ceremony at the World Trade Center site in New York on Friday, Sept. 11, 2015.

This Sunday marks the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. The event caused major shifts in the political, social and economic climates around the world, and has given birth to a wide array of new academic scholarship.