Patricia McAnany researched Mayan ruins in Belize.  The Xunantunich ruins of western Belize are pictured above.
cjuneau via flickr

Patricia McAnany had a moment of clarity when a young girl of Maya descent asked her why all the Maya people had to die. McAnany knew that the ancient Maya civilization collapsed in the 8th and 9th centuries, but she also knew that the Maya people continued to exist right up until the modern day.

Chris Benfey

Several years ago, Chris Benfey decided to write a traditional memoir. He soon realized, however, that his family was anything but traditional. His new book, “Red Brick, Black Mountain, White Clay” (Penguin/2012), is part memoir, part history, part archeology.

It tells the stories of his ancestors’ work as bricklayers, his father’s escape from Nazi Germany and his great aunt and uncle’s pivotal role in the founding of Black Mountain College. Chris Benfey is a Professor of English at Mount Holyoke College. He joins Host Frank Stasio to discuss his family’s North Carolina stories.

The first page of the Carolina Charter of 1663.
N.C. State Archives

People interested in the history of North Carolina can see the front page of the Carolina Charter on display today in Raleigh.  The 350-year-old old document represents the land grant from the King of England to eight of his closest friends and allies who helped him when he was restored to the throne. 

Archaeologists preparing to dive.
N.C. Dept. of Cultural Resources

At the bottom of Beaufort Inlet sits an eight-foot cannon that once fired from the decks of the Queen Anne’s Revenge. It’s been there since the ship sank in 1718, and the famous pirate Blackbeard was captured. A crew of archaeologists heads out to bring the cannon to the surface today. Mark Wilde-Ramsing is the director of the Queen Anne’s Revenge Shipwreck project and an underwater archaeologist with the state. He joined WUNC's Eric Hodge to talk about the project.

The “Freedom Rallies” of 1963 were remembered and honored yesterday with a North Carolina Highway Historical Marker. 

The “Freedom Rallies” took place in the town of Williamston – in Martin County.  For 32 days – hundreds of mostly African Americans held mass meetings and marches, anchored at Green Memorial Church.  Diane Carr was 12-years-old during the “Freedom Rallies” and remembers singing and marching to the courthouse to demand equal rights.

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 Hi Mount neighborhood just north of downtown Raleigh is being considered for addition to the National Register of Historic Places. Officials say the post-war community was planned in the late 1930s with construction finished by 1954. Martha Hobbs is a preservation planner with the city. She says the recognition could be a boost for the area.