The State of Things

The Banjo: America's African Instrument
Harvard University Press

 

 

Laurent Dubois never felt like a true American until he started playing the banjo. His fascination with the origins of the instrument led him on a search to discover its roots and the ways it evolved from an African and Caribbean instrument to its present iteration. Host Frank Stasio talks with Dubois about his new book, “The Banjo: Africa's American Instrument” (Harvard University Press/2016). He also talks with musician Joe Newberry who plays live.

Image of Breakfast Sandwich
From Orange Lavender & Figs: Deliciously Different Recipes From A Passionate Eater By Fanny Slater. Reprinted by arrangement with Atria Books, Copyright © 2016 Fanny Slater

Fanny Slater’s journey into the kitchen starts with what she calls the “brownie legacy:” a few years before she was born, her parents started business that revolved around her mother’s infamous brownies. As a young kid, Slater remembers watching her mother diligently hand wrap each brownie, and hearing stories about catering parties for Jane Fonda. She continued to spend time in the kitchen throughout her teen years, learning how to cook fresh and healthy meals from her father.

Bathroom sign
Wikimedia

 

  

The North Carolina General Assembly passed a law eliminating nondiscrimination provisions for LGBT individuals by city governments.

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The North Carolina Republican party leadership is in a state of disarray as the central committee casts a vote of no-confidence in the chairman, Hasan Harnett.

The leader has been at odds with other members of the party over the upcoming convention. Party leaders allege Harnett violated eight internal rules. 

Host Frank Stasio talks with WUNC Capitol Bureau chief Jeff Tiberii about the latest.

There are signs that transgender people could serve openly in the United States military within the next year.
The U.S. Army / Flickr Creative Commons

A report from the Department of Defense says more service members are being diagnosed with eating disorders.

The stresses of combat and the military's physical requirements have driven some troops to anorexic and bulimic behaviors. Some of them say the military offers little help, and many do not report their conditions. 

Host Frank Stasio talks with KUOW military reporter Patricia Murphy about her reporting as part of the American Homefront Project.

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. 

An image of Zoe Saldana
Wikipedia Creative Commons / Public Domain

Last month, comedian Chris Rock hosted the Oscars amid controversy around the awards' lack of diversity. Rock's jokes jabbed at the Academy Awards lack of recognition for any actors of color.

But controversy around race in Hollywood continued after Rock's performance. The new biopic "Nina" depicts the struggles of iconic musician Nina Simone, a singer and civil rights activist. But critics say the movie disgraces Simone's legacy because lead actress Zoe Saldana used dark makeup to change her light-skinned complexion. 

Supreme Court Justice nominee Merrick Garland
US DOJ

President Obama made his selection for the vacant seat on the U.S. Supreme Court this morning: Merrick Garland.

The President called on the Senate to confirm the former prosecutor and DC Circuit Court Chief Judge. And the road to the White House has one less traveler after Marco Rubio bowed out following his defeat by Donald Trump in his home state of Florida.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump won their respective fights in North Carolina yesterday. 

Image from Beertown production
Daniel R. Winters Photography

As the 2016 general election draws closer, conversations about what is important to American voters become increasingly polarized. These conversations also tend to happen in silos within particular partisan, academic, or journalistic circles.

An image of Shaun Harper from the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania

Note: this is a rebroadcast from August 27, 2015

Across the South, black students have a higher rate of being suspended or expelled than white students, according to a new study from the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. The study singled out 13 southern states for comprising 55 percent of the nation's black student suspensions.

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