NC Central University

An image of Yaba Blay
Sabriya Simon

  Note: This segment originally aired on Monday, March 7, 2016.

Growing up in New Orleans, Yaba Blay saw firsthand the different roles one navigates as an African-American. At home, she had to adjust to the Ghanaian culture of her parents, but outside the house, her dark skin set her apart from New Orleans' light-skinned Creole community.

Triangle-Area Universities Welcome Class Of 2020

Aug 24, 2016
North Carolina Central University in Durham, NC
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

College students are back in the Triangle. UNC-Chapel Hill begins classes this week and the class of 2020 is settling in at Duke.

Durham trumpeter Al Strong has released his debut solo album, 'LoveStrong Vol. 1.'
Chris Charles / Creative Silence

This is a rebroadcast.

Al Strong started playing music when he was seven years old after his dad got him a drum set for Christmas.

He bounced from the drums to piano, and eventually landed on the trumpet. Throughout high school and college, he studied jazz. Now, he teaches the next generation of trumpeters at N.C. Central University in Durham.

An image of jazz vocalist Charenee Wade
Charenee Wade

Jazz vocalist Charenee Wade began singing when she was 12 years old living in Brooklyn. She was inspired by artists like Sarah Vaughn and Christian McBride.

Her latest album is a collection of covers from Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson called “Offering: The Music of Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson.” 

Robert Lawson / North Carolina Central University

Elvira Green's prolific career as an opera singer catapulted her from the choir room at her church in Greensboro to the chambers of the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

She was one of the few African-American women to break into a permanent spot at the Met during the 1970s, and her success as a mezzo-soprano has taken her all over the world.

She performed her signature role as Maria in the opera "Porgy and Bess." 

Polls show Donald Trump continues to lead the Republican race ahead of the Iowa caucus on Feb. 1.
Ninian Reid / Flickr Creative Commons

The Iowa caucuses are less than a week away and early voting for North Carolina’s primary starts in just more than a month.

Campaigns are heating up, but how are voters responding? And are North Carolinians more or less politically engaged this cycle than in previous years?

The debate over gun control continues after President Obama's executive action this week designed to curb gun violence.
Peretz Partensky / Flickr Creative Commons

President Obama issued an executive action this week designed to curb gun violence. The president said this country's routine mass shootings compelled him to act.

Republican members of Congress swiftly responded with promises to defend Americans' constitutional right to bear arms. But it's not yet clear whether the president's action will change the culture of gun ownership in the United States or where it fits into the national conversation about gun laws. 

Concertina wire surrounding a prison
Kate Ter Harr / Flickr Creative Commons

Researchers and advocates refer to the school-to-prison pipeline as a combination of laws and policies that push students out of the classroom and into the criminal justice system.

But educators point to the underlying issues of race, class and gender as other contributors to the process.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Javonte Carver, a student at Durham Technical Community College, about his experience in Durham Public Schools and the broad issues that connect to the school-to-prison pipeline. 

Charmaine McKissick-Melton at a ceremony for Sigma Tau Delta, an English honor society.
Chi Brown / NCCU Office of University Relations

In 1963, the Durham School Board extended the desegregation of schools to elementary school students. Third-grader Charmaine McKissick-Melton and her brother, Floyd Jr., were two of the first African-Americans to integrate North Durham Elementary School.

Raleigh Little Theatre

In the last decade, there has been a surge of new work from African-American artists in the Triangle.

But they are still grappling with a limited number of platforms, especially in the performing arts. The amount of talent is booming, but the number of roles for African-Americans is not keeping up.

Now, a group of black artists in the Triangle is trying to bridge that gap through a forum that brings artists together with local entrepreneurs and art lovers who are craving new modes of expression.

Hoodr / Wikipedia Creative Commons

Physics students at NC Central University will soon be able to pursue a dual degree in computer or electrical engineering at NC State beginning this fall. After three years at Central, a student could do two more years at State and finish with two undergraduate degrees.

NC State's Computer and Electrical Engineering Director Dan Stancil said State is excited to welcome the math and physics students from NC Central.

A representation of the university seal, located in front of South Building. Dedicated by the class of 1989, it marks UNC's exact geographic location.


 A panel of the UNC System Board of Governors recommended the elimination of three campus-based centers and on-going assessment of 13 others yesterday. 

The working group suggested the closure of the Center on Poverty, Work, and Opportunity at UNC-Chapel Hill; the NC Center for Biodiversity at East Carolina University; and the Institute for Civic Engagement and Social Change at NC Central University. 

Debra Saunders-White

Debra Saunders-White was officially installed Friday as the 11th chancellor at North Carolina Central University.  She has been serving as the school's leader since last June.  She is the university's first female chancellor and only the second woman to lead one of the five historically black colleges in the UNC System.

Saunders-White encouraged NCCU students to be fearless in choosing their career paths..and promised the school's best efforts to help them reach their goals.

LaVelle Moton

Four North Carolina universities -- all located in the Triangle -- have earned bids to this year's National Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament.  The highest seed is Duke.  The Blue Devils are third in the Midwest region.  But the Atlantic Coast Conference runner-up will open tournament play against Mercer University at PNC Arena in Raleigh on Friday. North Carolina Central University is making its first ever trip to the NCAA Tournament.  The Mid Eastern Athletic Conference regular-season and tournament champions are seeded 14th in the East region.  They will put a 20-game win streak on the line against third-seed Iowa State Friday in San Antonio.  

Henry Frazier III
NC Central University

The football coach recently fired by N.C. Central is making an appeal to get his job back. Henry Frazier, III says he was wrongly terminated.

Frazier says his second arrest in two years came after he tried to inform his ex-wife that he would be paying a parking ticket on their car. Frazier was suspended last year after being arrested for spousal abuse and was subjected to an order of protection.

Debra Saunders-White
NC Central University

College students began meeting their new roommates and unpacking boxes last week at several of the large universities in the Triangle and Triad. This year, the freshmen won’t be the only new faces on campus.

Carol Folt began her first official day on the job as chancellor at UNC-Chapel Hill a little over a month and a half ago. She replaced Holden Thorp, who is now the provost at Washington University in Saint Louis. Folt comes to Carolina from Dartmouth. She’s the first woman to lead UNC-Chapel Hill.

Julius Chambers
Citizenplastic /

In 1948, William Chambers, a black maintenance worker in Montgomery County, NC was denied payment for a job by a white customer. William Chambers spent many afternoons searching for an attorney to represent him, but all the white lawyers he asked refused. William told this story to his son, Julius Chambers, who then vowed to become a lawyer and fight for justice.

Julius Chambers
Ferguson, Chambers and Sumter

Friends and the state's legal community are honoring the life of Julius Chambers who died last week.  He was 76 years old. 

Chambers was active in the 1960s Civil Rights movement, founding the law firm that became North Carolina's first integrated practice.  A statement from the Ferguson, Chambers and Sumter firm said Chambers argued eight cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and won all of them. 

North Carolina Central University
NC Central

A Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Ally Center recently opened on the North Carolina Central University campus. School officials say the goal of the facility is to establish a safer and more inclusive environment for all students. Tia Marie Doxey, Director of Student Life Assessment at the university,  says there have been some emotional moments there so far.

North Carolina Central University became the first university in the state to offer a jazz degree in 1977. The university has since been a force on a state and national level in keeping the jazz scene alive.

The university is now throwing its 23rd annual Jazz Festival this week. Ira Wiggins, director of their jazz department, founded the festival in 1990 with hopes of creating a space for students to meet and learn from seasoned jazz musicians. This year the festival features jazz artists Carl Allen and Benny Golson. Benny Golson is a world-renowned saxophonist, composer, and producers.  Ira Wiggins and Benny Golson join Host Frank Stasio to talk about the state of jazz education today, and give us a sneak peek of the festival.

It's the beginning of the Spring Semester and sorority and fraternity in-take season is about to begin on many college campuses.  This has traditionally been an exciting time at historically black colleges and universities where many of these Greek organizations are turning 100 years old.  

But entry into these close-knit groups have sparked major out-cry because of hazing.  And administrators say the sometimes violent and mentally taxing pledge process has spilled over into other campus groups, like the band, sports teams and even honor societies. 

Early Voting
Leoneda Inge

Thousands of people packed polling places across the state yesterday as early voting began.

North Carolina Central University’s drum-line led a parade of voters in Durham to the student union where they could vote early.  Leotrice Pegues is a senior at NCCU.  She was excited about casting her vote early.   Pegues didn’t get to vote in 2008 because she forgot to switch her registration.

Michelle Obama at NC Central
Jessica Jones

First lady Michelle Obama was in Durham and Greenville yesterday to help get out the vote for her husband. With less than two months to go before election day, polls show the race is close between President Obama and his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney. Jessica Jones reports the Obama campaign is hoping younger voters will help the president win North Carolina a second time.

A former North Carolina governor is one of five people selected to serve on the board overseeing the national mortgage settlement.

Leoneda Inge: James Holshouser is joined by Keith Pigues (pig-gees), Dean of the School of Business at North Carolina Central University and Bonnie Hancock, with the N-C State Poole College of Management. Joseph Smith is national mortgage settlement monitor and former North Carolina Commissioner of Banks. He says the oversight office is like a small company.

North Carolina Central University chancellor Charlie Nelms is retiring.

Gurnal Scott: Five years to the month after becoming chancellor Nelms will step away. His colleagues describe the decision as shocking.

Kevin Rome: It's almost like a death when you don't expect it.