American South

Photo from "Violet"
Jon Gardiner

In the 1960s, when a young woman named Violet has an accident that leaves her with a disfiguring scar, she sets off on a journey from her home in North Carolina to seek the help of a healing preacher in Oklahoma.

Along the way, she meets two soldiers who help in her discovery of inner beauty, and guide in her understanding of racial divides in a new era for the American South.

photo of "Woodstock" by Burk Uzzle
Burk Uzzle

Burk Uzzle remembers taking pictures at the bus station when he was just a teenager living in eastern North Carolina. In high school, he worked part-time as a photographer for the News & Observer and eventually became the youngest photographer hired by LIFE magazine. Throughout the years, Uzzle captured iconic images of Martin Luther King Jr. and Woodstock, and his archive now spans six decades and prominently features images of his Southern roots.

John Shelton Reed did not think of himself as a southerner until his classmates at MIT pointed it out.

The Tennessee native was going to school in the northeast just as the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s took off. It was the beginning of a career dedicated to the study of southern culture.

He came to it as a kind of outsider in his own home but quickly returned to his roots, helped create the Center for the Study of the American South at UNC-Chapel Hill, and has become one of the preeminent voices on the "correct" way to make North Carolina barbecue. 

REEL SOUTH

The American South has a long history of compelling, lyrical, and diverse storytelling. But many of the nationally-known portrayals of the region—like “Duck Dynasty,” “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo,” or “Swamp People”—still rely heavily on stereotypes.

Image of Eric Pickersgill's art installation
Eric Pickersgill

For some artists, making art is about creating something distinct from everything else that came before it. But in a new exhibit on view at The Ackland Art Museum, 11 artists explore the flip side of that artistic impulse. Their work raises questions about the value of creating new objects and explores the ethical and environmental implications of this work.

Katy Clune

Hot, salty/smoky, sour/bitter, sweet, savory, and sharp: a flavor profile can evoke a particular style of food, and in turn, food can give insight to a community’s public health, history and policies. This week, students, faculty, entrepreneurs and community members at UNC-Chapel Hill gather to explore the history, politics and culture of North Carolina food using the six flavor profiles as a guide.

The State of the Plate conference will be held at the FedEx Global Education Center on Friday, March 27 and Saturday, March 28.

Image of H.L. Mencken
Flickr/Union-Square

 

H.L. Mencken was a columnist, author and journalist regarded as one of the most influential American writers from the early 20th century.

Ruins in Charleston, S.C., from the album Photographic Views of Sherman’s Campaign
George N. Barnard / David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University

Duke University recently acquired two stunning sets of photographs of the Civil War. Now, Duke Performances has commissioned a leading guitarist to set the images to music. The result is an intimate perspective on the cost of war.

Raleigh Little Theatre

In popular culture, the term cakewalk means anything that is effortless and easy.

Cover Image for On the Bevel.
Janice Fuller

  

When poet Janice Fuller sits down to write, she chooses three random words and uses them to jump start her creativity. 

  

Tim Anderson grew up in north Raleigh as a gay, sugar-obsessed teenager.

Government scientists can speak Southern after all.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory has announced that in response to complaints from staff, it's canceling plans to hold a six-week "Southern Accent Reduction" course, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports.

Officials at the scientific complex in east Tennessee said they had only been responding to an employee request. They've now responded to the anger of offended workers.

Chef Vivian Howard accepted a Peabody Award for the PBS series 'A Chef's Life'.
Cherry Bombe Magazine / via Twitter

North Carolina chef accepted a prestigious award last night for a TV series that chronicles her life and her cooking.   Vivian Howard is co-owner of  "Chef and the Farmer," a fine dining restaurant in Kinston, N.C.  She and the television crew that makes the series "A Chef's Life" accepted one of broadcasting's highest honors, a Peabody Award, in New York. 

Howard says the journey to being accepted by the Kinston community was a long one.

"It really took a while for them to warm up," says Howard. 

Rachel Boillot

Although some regard the United States Postal Service as a beloved American icon, technological developments and budget concerns have taken a toll on the institution. Recent funding issues, competition and the rise of email have transformed the postal service into an endangered species. Thousands of post offices have closed their doors in the last three years. 

Ed Williams spent almost half a century writing for newspapers in Mississippi and North Carolina. His journalism career started at The Daily Mississippian and continued through 35 years at The Charlotte Observer.

Dixie Highway Road Building and the Making of the Modern South, 1900 to 1930
uncpress.unc.edu / UNC Press

    

Before the 20th century, Southern roads were little more than rubble and dirt. Traveling from county to county was difficult and state to state was near impossible. The Dixie Highway, constructed in 1915, shifted control and funding of road regulations from local government to state and federal authorities. 

Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men Of The South
sweettea-theplay.com / Sweet Tea The Play

Television shows like Glee, Will and Grace, and Modern Family portray gay identity as white, northern, and secular. But that was far from E. Patrick Johnson's reality growing up in Hickory, North Carolina. Johnson decided to travel across the South to unearth stories of African American gay men and document his findings in the book Sweet Tea: Gay Black Men of the South (UNC Press/2008).

Jennifer Ho, English professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
englishcomplit.unc.edu / UNC-Chapel Hill

When Jennifer Ho went to the hospital for testing on a lump in her breast, she encountered the image often associated with breast cancer: the pink ribbon.

A nurse led the UNC English professor to an exam room. She recalls, "And then I saw a tote bag with UNC hospital's name on it and the pink ribbon. And I had this immediate visceral reaction. And I'm walking with the nurse. And I said something I can't repeat on the air." Ho said, "I hate those *** pink ribbons."

This is the actual Woolworth lunch counter where the protest took place. It is now housed at the Smithsonian
Smithsonian National Museum of American History

Background to this first person audio story from reporter Jessica Jones:

Back in 2010, I was thrilled to cover the opening of Greensboro's International Civil Rights Center and Museum, housed in the old Woolworth's store where the famous sit-in took place that led to the end of desegregation.

It was exciting for me personally because the assignment allowed me to meet and interview three of the surviving members of the Greensboro Four, the men who as college students showed such incredible courage in integrating the lunch counter.

Joe Hudson's new book is a collection of essays he wrote for his weekly column in the Statesville Record & Landmark.
Joe Hudson

  

 Joe Hudson's weekly column in the Statesville Record & Landmark entertains readers with its stories about family, friendship, and Southern culture.  

Bill Ferris' new book, The Storied South: Voices of Writers and Artists, presents 40 years of interviews and photographs.
UNC Press

For decades, Bill Ferris documented Southern African-American folklore.  His latest book The Storied South: Voices of Writers and Artists presents material from 40 years of interviews with writers, scholars and artists who reflected southern culture in their work.

For more than a decade, the number of people in our nation who've newly contracted HIV has gone down two percent. But the South doesn't share in that small victory. During the same period of time, the number of people contracting the virus in the South has risen 36 percent.

Tennessee Playboy is a new play written and adapted by Preston Lane, set to debut at Triad Stage.
Triad Stage

A stranger staggers into an East Tennessee truck stop with a tale of murder. So begins the play Tennessee Playboy, premiering at Triad Stage next week. Host Frank Stasio talks with Triad Stage artistic director Preston Lane about his original adaptation of J.M. Synge's The Playboy of the Western World. Plus, the cast performs a scene.