The Story

Photo: Idris Brewster and Seun Summers
American Promise film

Over the course of 13 years, Joe Brewster and Michele Stephenson filmed their son's progress through the elite New York City prep school called Dalton. As an African-American family in a predominantly white school, the years were challenging for everyone.

Their documentary American Promise airs on  UNC-TV Thursday 2/6/14 at 10 p.m.

A year ago, Dick Gordon talked with Joe Brewster and Michele Stephenson when they were in Durham N.C. for the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival.

Photo: Mohammed, Mais and little Lamees wait in the airport in Amman to come to the U.S.
Ahmed Fadaam

In the last show of WUNC's The Story, we check in with guests who came on the program at moments when their lives were in transition.

When Deyanira Chavez was first on the show, she’d come to the United States from Mexico, undocumented, and was about to begin studying architecture in college.  Today, after much difficulty, we find her back in Mexico.

Dick Gordon, host of the The Story
Indaia Whitcombe

Friday is the last day for The Story on WUNC.  The program's host, Dick Gordon, is leaving the station after eight years with the nationally distributed show.  He spoke with Morning Edition's Eric Hodge one last time Friday morning.

ERIC HODGE: Good morning Dick.

DICK GORDON: Hi, Eric.

HODGE: So, why the move, Mr. Gordon?

Rachel McCarthy (left) & Carol Jackson with Dick Gordon
Jorge Valencia / The Story

New evening time for State of Things, debut of On Being and Q as The Story broadcasts end on WUNC 

Illustration: 'Lady Madonna' single cover
Capitol Records

When Michael Humphrey was growing up, he would sometimes hear his father telling strangers a story about how the Beatles stole a song he wrote. People would almost always be confused and bewildered – and Michael would wish he weren’t there. “It didn’t matter to me whether it was true or not. It was just embarrassing that something so outrageous was being said,” he remembers. In this conversation, Humphrey tells host Dick Gordon how he eventually looked into his father’s claim that the Beatles stole the composition for “Lady Madonna.” Humphrey interviewed his father, and set out to find sheet music and anyone close to Paul McCartney who would speak to him.

Photo: Nate Kalichman and Paula Givan
Paula Givan

Nate Kalichman was 90 and Paula Givan was 67 when they got married. Sit with them and it seems like their love is brand new and like they’ve been married for years. In this 2012 conversation with host Dick Gordon, they share their stories of finding love late in life and making plans.

Also in this show: Tending Monet’s Garden, and Judy Garland’s flight attendant on a cross-country flight.

In A Classroom, Two Longtime Rivals Meet

Oct 7, 2013
Photo: Michael Wilder and Yafinceio Harris
Peace During War

When Yafinceio Harris and Michael Wilder were growing up in a tough neighborhood of Kalamazoo, Mich., they were members of rivaling crews that often came close to armed confrontation. Once, Harris, also known as "Big B," followed Wilder, known as "Too Short," and almost killed him in a street fight. They both spent time in prison, and eventually had a meeting neither expected – in the classroom of a community college.

Looking To Clean India’s Holy Ganges River

Oct 3, 2013
Photo: A girl by the Ganges River in the city of Varanasi
Indaia Whitcombe

The Ganges, the 1,500-mile river flowing through Northern India, is one of the holiest yet most polluted places in the country. It is a place where people pray, and a place where people wash and bathe. Producer Phoebe Judge travels to the city of Varanasi, on the river’s left bank, where she meets people who live along the Ganges and want to clean it up the sewage that pours into it every day.

Life On The Chicken Processing Line

Oct 2, 2013
Photo: A woman working in chicken processing plant
Frontier Centre For Public Policy

Photo: A grizzly at Glacier National Park near St. Mary Lake, Mont.
Flickr user Mario Quevedo

Joe Williams was a 20-year-old looking for adventure on his first day working at Glacier National Park when he and a friend spotted a female grizzly bear. Williams got tangled with the bear, getting mauled and fighting back, while his friend was able to run for help. Williams recounts the event to host Dick Gordon in this conversation and explains what the event has come to mean to him in the years since.

Growing Up In The White House

Sep 30, 2013
Photo: Former President Lyndon B. Johnson and First Lady Lady Bird Johnson with their daughters Lynda Bird Johnson, left, and Luci Baines Johnson in this Nov. 30, 1963, family photo.
LBJ Library Photo by Yoichi Okamoto

Luci Baines Johnson was a teenager in 1963 when President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed and her father, Lyndon Johnson, was thrust into the presidency. That year, the family moved into the White House, and Luci was fully aware of the tragic reason for their move. In this conversation with host Dick Gordon, she talks about the day she became the first daughter.

Photo: Niagara Falls, Ontario, Cananda, 2009
Annie Leibovitz from 'Pilgramage.' 2011

Photographer Annie Leibovitz started shooting celebrity portraits for Rolling Stone in 1970, and today she regularly shoots the covers for magazines like Vanity Fair and Vogue. After the loss of her partner, Susan Sontag, and a significant financial upheaval , Leibovitz needed to get out of the studio.

She wanted to shoot whatever she liked, whenever she liked. Traveling to a series of historic locations, including Emily Dickinson's house, Thoreau's cabin, and Virginia Woolf's writing room, she photographed objects and places. The photos, lit only by natural light, show us a very different side of Leibovitz's work.  Guest host Phoebe Judge asks Leibovitz about her new collection.

After The Lebanese Civil War, An Apology

Sep 26, 2013
Photo: Assaad Chaftari walking through an exhibition of people who disappeared during the Lebanese Civil War.
Sleepless Nights documentary

During the Lebanese Civil War of the 1970s and 1980s, Assaad Chaftari served as a soldier and an intelligence official for the Christian militia. He was responsible for the death of many Lebanese Muslims, and it wasn’t until years after the war ended and he heard his son making disparaging remarks about Muslims that he decided to repent publicly for his actions. He sent a letter to a local news agency and received some surprising responses.

Photo: Sheila (left) and her sister Kathleen before their parents sent them to Boston
Sheila Hutton

As rumblings of the war were heard in England in the late 1930s, thousands of families began sending their children to countries they thought would be safer. So when Sheila Hutton was 7, her parents shipped her from her home in an English coastal town to Boston. Six years later, when the war had ended and she’d become a teenager, she returned and had only a navy blue head scarf for her mother to recognize her.

Photo: 'Lookaway, Lookaway' book cover
St. Martin's Press

When Wilton Barnhardt graduated from high school in North Carolina, he left for college with no plans to return. He went on what would become a two-decade tour of New York City, Oxford, New Orleans and Los Angeles. Then, even though he’d bet he’d never go back home, he ended up teaching in Raleigh, N.C.

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