North Carolina Voices

North Carolina Voices: a series that takes an in-depth look at complex issues that deeply touch the lives of North Carolinians. North Carolina Voices extends an approach piloted by North Carolina Public Radio-WUNC in 2002 to transcend daily news coverage by taking an in-depth look at large-scale, complex issues. 

Emily Hanford accepts the duPont award on behalf of the North Carolina Public Radio team in 2004 for the Poverty Series.

  Previous North Carolina Voices series have explored issues such as education, unemployment, war and poverty. The series won many national and regional awards, including the prestigious Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Broadcast News Award.

For more information about North Carolina Voices please contact News Director Brent Wolfe at 919-445-9150 or bwolfe@wunc.org

The "Good War"

Jun 24, 2011

Many people think the American Civil War had to happen. It reunited a torn country and put an end to slavery. But was it a "good" war, and is there even such a thing? Host Frank Stasio talks about the morality of the Civil War with David Goldfield, the Robert Lee Bailey Professor of History at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and author of “America Aflame: How the Civil War Created a Nation” (Bloomsbury Press/2011); and Fitzhugh Brundage, the William Umstead Distinguished Professor of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Washington Duke
Duke Homestead

Before the Civil War, North Carolina was a poor, agrarian state. The people who lived here were renowned for their independence. It was a quality that would serve the state well after the war.

Washington Duke was a penniless, ambivalent Confederate soldier in the spring of 1865 when he was released from a Union prison in New Bern. Ahead of him was a 130 mile walk home to Durham - waiting for him there were 4 children, no wife, and a ransacked farm.

During the Civil War, the Union Army had an increasing supply of something the Confederacy lacked: food. Canning operations in the North kept the Union’s bellies full while Southern soldiers faced starvation. In his new book, “Starving the South: How the North Won the Civil War” (St. Martin’s Press/2011), author and culinary historian Andrew F. Smith explores the role of food in the outcome of the war. Smith joins host Frank Stasio to talk about his research and the connection between the Civil War and the industrialization of America’s food supply.

America was a highly religious nation during the Civil War era and spiritual believers on both sides of the conflict turned to their faith to understand the causes and consequences of the war. The concept of divine providence - the idea that God’s will was being played out on the battleground - was a common theme in the messages of preachers and political leaders of the day. For African-Americans in South, the freedom to worship came slowly and black ministers found themselves facing the exciting challenge of emancipation in different ways.

Many families here in North Carolina have passed down stories about the experiences of their ancestors during the Civil War. For most people, those tales are a link to a distant past that spans generations. But for one small group of elderly women who are actually the daughters of Confederate soldiers, that history is very much a part of their own life story.

A commonly used image of Lowry.
www.ncmuseumofhistory.org

Henry Berry Lowry was a Lumbee Indian sometimes described as the “Robin Hood” of Robeson County, North Carolina. But Lowry’s story is much more nuanced than that. He’s a hero to some, a murderer to others. All told, Lowry and his gang of outlaws were responsible for some two dozen killings as the Civil War ended and during Reconstruction.

Historians estimate that more than 56,000 Americans died in prison camps during the Civil War. That's a casualty figure that is far greater than any single battle. The South's most famous prison was at Andersonville in Georgia. Conditions there were horrible; the food was scarce and often rancid. Nearly 29 percent of all prisoners detained at Andersonville died before the end of the war. Singer Dave Alvin wrote a song about it after he discovered that one of his relatives died there.

Bennett Place
www.nchistoricsites.org/bennett/

The Civil War was one of the bloodiest wars fought in American history. Although the North won, led bravely by President Abraham Lincoln, Union victory was never a foregone conclusion. Historian Joseph Glatthaar says Lincoln may have been a great political leader, but he didn’t know much about military strategy. The president’s missteps made the Civil War longer and almost caused the resignation of one of the Union’s great generals.

Some historians refer to the Civil War as the “war between the states" – a white man’s war.  But to many people of color – it was the “war for freedom.” And during this mighty war, no other place in North Carolina had more “free” slaves than New Bern.

When the Union Army seized the city, word spread fast. Slaves travelled from across the state and outside its borders to get to New Bern.

The 26th North Carolina Regiment is one of the largest Civil war reenactor groups in the country. Nearly every month the regiment travels from one historical site to the next to reenact battles and perform living history exhibits. The group is modeled after a Confederate regiment of the same name.

The Civil War is often referred to as the last war fought on American soil. Since then, we fight wars over seas and we watch the battles play out on TV or the Internet. For black and white women living in the American South, the Civil War was fought all around them, but the true enemies were poverty, hunger and despair. For those women, the battlefront was not a distant idea because the battlefront was the homefront. As part of our series, “North Carolina Voices: The Civil War,” Thavolia Glymph and Laura Edwards join host Frank Stasio to discuss what life was like for women in North Carolina during the war.

Did you know that Quakers were the first organized non-native religious group in the Carolinas? In the late 1600s, the governor and assembly of North Carolina were majority Quaker. Today, the Piedmont Triad has the largest concentration of Quakers in North America. But leading up to the Civil War, Quakers left the state in droves because of their opposition to slavery. During the war, their pacifism sent them north and west to free states. Greensboro’s Guilford College was first established as a boarding school in 1837 in order to maintain some Quaker presence in the state.

Michael Gerhardt
law.unc.edu

The 14th Amendment may be the most hotly debated 2,000 words in American history. It was adopted on July 9, 1868 and is considered the most important of the “Reconstruction Amendments.” Those amendments - the 13th, 14th and 15th - reconfigure the relationship between the states and the federal government. Among other things, they put the federal government in the position of monitoring the way states protect civil rights.

Civil War Monuments Loom Large

Jun 15, 2011
The Reidsville monument... without the statue.
Rose Hoban

All over North Carolina, statues of Confederate soldiers stand sentry in front of courthouses, churches and in public squares.
 

It was a dark and stormy night in Reidsville early on May 23rd...

Black Soldiers In The Civil War

Jun 14, 2011

Visualize a Civil War soldier and a sepia colored picture of a white man likely comes to mind. But thousands of African Americans in North Carolina served in the Union Army during the Civil War. They trained in the town of New Bern after its fall in March 1962.

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