Race & Demographics

Image of a quilt made by Elizabeth Keckley
Kent State University Museum

In 1868, Elizabeth Keckley published the memoir “Behind the Scenes: Or Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House.” She wrote in the preface, “I have often been asked to write my life, as those who know me know that it has been an eventful one.” 

Lennon Lacy, Bladenboro, NC NAACP, Hanging
Leoneda Inge

Two years ago, a young African-American male was found hanging from a swing set in Bladenboro, North Carolina. Local and federal law enforcement officials ruled the hanging death of Lennon Lacy, 17, a suicide. But his family is not convinced and suspects Lacy was murdered.

Courtesy of Kumarini Silva

This year marks the 15th anniversary of 9/11, an event that sparked dramatic shifts in global policy and international relations. 

Courtesy of Malinda Maynor Lowery

Malinda Maynor Lowery is a Lumbee Indian whose family goes back more than 10 generations in Robeson County. Lowery was born in Lumberton, N.C. but raised in Durham, where from an early age, she often fielded the question, “what are you?” Although she grew up in a family with a strong sense of Native identity, this question stayed with her much of her life, and eventually became the subject of much of her academic and documentary work.

Image from The Andy Griffith Show
Wikimedia

Many know Mayberry as the idyllic town that was home to the fictional Andy Griffith show.

A new film highlights the characters of the true Mayberry: Mount Airy, North Carolina. Filmmaker Bill Hayes, a Mount Airy native, captured the characters and places that make Mount Airy a representation of “Hometown USA.” 

Despite economic struggles caused by the decline of textile manufacturing, The Real Mayberry continues to thrive and retain its unique character.

The Black Man Running group jog in Wilmington.
Courtesy Black Man Running

Putting on running shoes and heading out for a jog is not a straightforward affair for black men. Runner Rendell Smith remembers a white woman who was so scared when she saw him jogging toward her, she dropped her groceries and bolted.

NCCU, Debra Saunders-White, UNC System
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

Flowers and other memorials are being placed around the North Carolina Central University campus in Durham as students and staff remember their late chancellor, Debra Saunders-White.

An image of Bertha Landis with her children in 1985
Tom Davenport

For more than 80 years, the Landis family has gathered at their family farm in Creedmoor, N.C. for a family reunion. The event is a testament to the strong sense of place and kinship within the family.

Hillside High School, The Wiz, Musical Theatre
Meredith Wilson / The Durham VOICE

About half of the public school teachers in North Carolina have been in the classroom for less than 10 years. But then you have a high school teacher in Durham who is celebrating 30 years at the same school and has no intention of leaving anytime soon.

A view of the Blue Ridge Parkway on October 11, 2016 north of Devil's Couthouse in western North Carolina.
Jennifer Mesk / http://humansofasheville.net

New data released by the U.S. Census Bureau paints a complex picture of the changing demographics in western North Carolina. Carolina Public Press managing editor Frank Taylor sifted through the data to find trends in poverty, education, and employment, as well as to undercover political implications of the area's demographic makeup.

An image 'Black Righteous Space' by Hank Willis Thomas
Hank WIllis Thomas

For Hank Willis Thomas, a good photograph is an image that sticks with somebody long after they first see it. As a photographer and conceptual artist, Thomas uses images to critique cultural perceptions about race, gender and class. 

Asian American, Asian American Voters, Election 2016
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

A new report shows Asian Americans are the fastest-growing racial demographic in North Carolina.

It also shows this group of largely independent voters could turn out to be a key swing vote in this upcoming election – if they show up at the polls.

Breaking The Jemima Code

Oct 20, 2016
University of Texas Press

For more than 100 years, the dominant image of an African-American cook was that of Aunt Jemima. Her face appeared on pancake boxes and syrup bottles and carried a message implying that African-American cooks were uneducated, poor, and always working under the direction of white women.

Princeville, Flooding, Race, Hurricane Matthew
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

Residents in a small, mostly African-American community in eastern North Carolina are still waiting to see what’s left of their flooded homes since the wrath of Hurricane Matthew.

Vianney Le Caer / AP

The highly-anticipated film "The Birth of a Nation" tells the story of a slave rebellion led by Nat Turner in Southampton County, Virginia in 1831.

NC A&T, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Black Voters
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

Numbers have consistently shown black voters to overwhelmingly support Barack Obama. And at Tuesday's rally in Greensboro, one would have thought he was running for a third term as President.

An image of Duke postdoctoral associate Duke Marisol LeBron
Marisol LeBron

Growing up in the Bronx, Marisol LeBrón witnessed two conflicting realities. She saw the diverse and vibrant communities around her neighborhood of Parkchester, but she also witnessed the struggles of Bronx's residents around stigmas about poverty and crime.

An image of peace activists Ali Abu Awwad and Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger
Courtesy of Hanan Schlesinger

Even though Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger has lived in the West Bank for 33 years, he had never spent much time with a Palestinian. That was before he met Ali Abu Awwad. Schlesinger lived in the area with for decades seeing Palestinians as an invisible "other." 

Julian Abele, Duke University, Race, Architect, Duke Quad
Courtesy of Duke University

Thousands of faculty, staff, students, alumni and family members walked across Duke University's West Campus over the weekend during Duke’s homecoming.

Just days ago, Duke's Main Quad was officially named in honor of the African-American architect who designed the buildings making up the quad.

An image of San Francisco 49ers players protesting the national anthem
Ted S. Warren / Associated Press

Since the beginning of the NFL season, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has knelt during the national anthem in protest against racial inequality. Dozens of athletes have followed in Kaepernick's footsteps.

Meanwhile, protests erupted in Charlotte last week after police fatally shot a black man. Against this backdrop, new television shows like "Queen Sugar" and "Greenleaf" unpack narratives about contemporary black life.

An image of the skyline of Charlotte, N.C.
Chuck Burton / Associated Press

In the past week, residents in Charlotte have protested throughout the city in response to the fatal shooting of Keith Lamont Scott by law enforcement. The week's events created a lingering sense of civil unrest in communities.

Peace and Pride, Charlotte Shooting, Fayetteville Police
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

Editor's note:  This story is part of an occasional series on what area community leaders and residents are doing to balance "peace and pride" in their neighborhoods.

Jeff Tiberii / WUNC

Winding through the intense green of the Uwharrie National Forest is a country road. At a gentle curve on state Highway 109, the speed limit drops from 55 to 45 mph, cars slow down slightly and a symbol of the American South flaps in the breeze.

NCCU, Charlotte Police Shooting, Black Lives Matter
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

Some 200 North Carolina Central University students stood in the rain Wednesday night to demonstrate against what they call police violence against people of color.

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. 

Old Chapel Hill Cemetery, Chapel Hill, Blacks
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

Students, staff and visitors to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill may be familiar with the Old Chapel Hill Cemetery sitting at the top of the knoll on South Road.

Then they also know how segregated the cemetery is – with headstones of whites on one side and blacks on the other.

Sunday, a new headstone was unveiled to remember all the unmarked graves of African Americans buried there.

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.

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.

Lennon Lacy, Bladenboro, NC NAACP, Hanging
Leoneda Inge

Two years ago today, 17-year-old Lennon Lacy was found hanging from a swing set in a Bladenboro, North Carolina trailer park.

Durham, Black Banking, Cicely Mitchell, Art of Cool
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

From Atlanta to Chicago, black-owned banks in big cities across the country have reported a rise in new accounts during the past month. One of the oldest black-owned banks in the country is based in Durham, where bank officials report a rise in new accounts and in a new movement to keep the momentum going.

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