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The Broadside

WUNC

Each week, The Broadside highlights a story from the heart of the American South and asks why it matters to you. From news to arts and culture, we dive into topics that might not be on a front page, but deserve a closer look. Along the way, we explore the nuances of our home—and how what happens here ripples across the country.Hosted by Anisa Khalifa, The Broadside is a production of North Carolina Public Radio-WUNC. Find it every Thursday wherever you listen to podcasts.

Each week, The Broadside highlights a story from the heart of the American South and asks why it matters to you. From news to arts and culture, we dive into topics that might not be on a front page, but deserve a closer look. Along the way, we explore the nuances of our home—and how what happens here ripples across the country.Hosted by Anisa Khalifa, The Broadside is a production of North Carolina Public Radio-WUNC. Find it every Thursday wherever you listen to podcasts.

14hr 34min
Thumbnail for "Robert F. Williams' bold history lesson".
One man’s fascinating and unusual legacy in a Southern town is challenging how we talk about the Civil Rights Movement.
Thumbnail for "Can we bring red wolves back from the brink (again)?".
The iconic Southern carnivore’s biggest threat is also its best hope for survival: humans.
Thumbnail for "The other Declaration of Independence".
Either someone’s lying — or we may need to rethink everything we know about American independence.
Thumbnail for "The surprising cricket capital of the South".
The future of cricket in America is in a field next to an airport in the small town of Morrisville, North Carolina.
Thumbnail for "The science behind saving an island".
The project to save North Carolina’s Sugarloaf Island could offer a solution for coastal erosion across the country.
Thumbnail for "Craft beer’s emerging Southern flavor (Revisited)".
Can you put a place in a pint?
Thumbnail for "Charlotte the stingray's tangled web".
A small-town aquarium in Western North Carolina claimed a stingray got impregnated by a shark. Then, things got weird.
Thumbnail for "The hunt for a long-lost musical masterpiece".
The final years of legendary jazz musician Mary Lou Williams’ life were shrouded in mystery. Until now.
Thumbnail for "Billy Graham’s statue and the legacy of ‘America’s Pastor’".
As a new monument is unveiled at the US Capitol, we look at the legacy of one of America's most influential religious figures.
Thumbnail for "NASCAR's racing simulator revolution (Revisited)".
Video games are fundamentally changing the real world of motorsports.
Thumbnail for "Our trash lives next to this community".
A rural community has endured living next to North Carolina's largest landfill for generations. But its residents are determined to keep fighting for a clean home.
Thumbnail for "How many dollar stores are too many? (Revisited)".
Dollar stores can be convenient and even necessary, but some advocates warn their rapid spread is creating food deserts.
Thumbnail for "Zombie deer and our looming conservation crisis".
A decline in hunters and a deadly disease are threatening the foundation of our wildlife management system.
Thumbnail for "Can we save the banana from extinction?".
A deadly fungus is devastating worldwide banana crops. The cure may be growing in an office park in North Carolina.
Thumbnail for "Breaking Southern baseball's color barrier".
A little more than 75 years ago, Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball. But integration in the South took a slightly different path.
Thumbnail for "The toxic spill that left a legacy of change".
A decade ago, toxic coal ash poured into the Dan River. That was just the beginning of the story.
Thumbnail for "Teachers challenge the nation's toughest union ban".
The Carolinas are the only two states that ban all government employees from unionizing.
Thumbnail for "Women's basketball is having its moment".
Women's basketball has finally hit the mainstream. Why did it take so long?
Thumbnail for "Tornado Alley is moving to the South".
Traditional tornado patterns in the US are moving and the South is directly in the path.
Thumbnail for "Why cola became king".
The South is the birthplace of all the big cola brands. But why?
Thumbnail for "Purple, teal and the rise of basketball fashion".
The Charlotte Hornets lost 60 games in 1988, but they looked incredible while doing it. Their iconic uniforms would launch a global fashion trend.
Thumbnail for "More power poles, more problems".
As the energy grid expands, so does demand for power poles — and the trees we use to make them.
Thumbnail for "Craft beer’s emerging Southern flavor".
Can you put a place in a pint?
Thumbnail for "How one business built Black Wall Street".
For decades, the epicenter of America’s Black middle class was in a midsize city in central North Carolina. Now that it's gone, what legacy does it leave?
Thumbnail for "NASCAR's racing simulator revolution".
Video games are fundamentally changing the real world of motorsports.
Thumbnail for "Place, Erased: Environmental ghost towns".
Explore Southern communities transformed by forces beyond their control.
Thumbnail for "EVs are reshaping the South one small town at a time".
Stanton, Tennessee is a microcosm of the powerful new economics at play in states throughout the American South.
Thumbnail for "The remarkable story of daredevil Tiny Broadwick".
The Wright Brothers aren’t the only icons of early aviation with ties to the South.
Thumbnail for "Featuring: Embodied - How fandoms build community".
We hear a lot about toxic fandoms — but this episode of the award-winning podcast Embodied has a lot to share about the brighter side.
Thumbnail for "The kids are alright: NPR Student Podcast Challenge finalist".
A young journalist tells us how she uncovered the history of her neighborhood and fought to preserve it for future generations.
Thumbnail for "Recovering from long Covid could be a long journey".
We check in on a group of long Covid patients and doctors from the Carolinas to see how we’re adapting to the second silent pandemic.
Thumbnail for "Millions across the South can’t trust their tap water".
When you turn on the faucet, you really don’t want to think twice about the quality of the water coming out. But that’s the reality for millions of people across the South.
Thumbnail for "One state could be a test case for tackling the opioid crisis".
North Carolina will spend $1.5 billion in opioid settlement funds. Its unique model could be a compelling test case for solving the opioid crisis across the country.
Thumbnail for "Featuring: North Carolina pottery from clay to kiln".
This Thanksgiving, we take a look at what's under your meal.
Thumbnail for "The process to return Native American remains is broken".
A once-promising process for returning looted Native American remains has slowed to a crawl. We ask what can be done to fix the problem.
Thumbnail for "My next-door neighbor is a weapon of mass destruction".
For more than half a century, the citizens of Richmond, Kentucky lived in the shadow of something extraordinary and terrible: an arsenal of chemical weapons.
Thumbnail for "The takeover of The Robesonian".
In 1988, two armed Native American men occupied a newspaper office in a North Carolina community. 35 years later, we look at the legacy of the takeover of The Robesonian.
Thumbnail for "How many dollar stores are too many?".
Dollar stores can be convenient and even necessary, but some advocates warn their rapid spread is creating food deserts.
Thumbnail for "What it takes to make music in prison".
Influential, exploitative and ever-evolving, this week we look between the bars of Southern prison music.
Thumbnail for "Asian American Studies has arrived".
Fifty years after the first movement for Asian American Studies, we explore why it's finally having its moment at universities across the South.
Thumbnail for "A look inside America’s climate data bunker".
A basement in the mountains of North Carolina might hold the keys to the climate crisis. Meet the keepers of America’s weather data.
Thumbnail for "How y'all conquered the world".
English speakers outside the South are embracing the word y’all. And the reasons may surprise you.
Thumbnail for "Introducing: The Broadside".
Weekly stories from the American South - and why they matter to you.

Robert F. Williams' bold history lesson

Thumbnail for "Robert F. Williams' bold history lesson".
February 29, 202426min 7sec

As the president of the local chapter of the NAACP, Robert F. Williams led the small town of Monroe, North Carolina in protesting racism and segregation during the 1950s. But he was also head of a local NRA chapter that urged African Americans to defend themselves by meeting violence with violence. His story is one of the most fascinating and unusual in American history, and, in Monroe and elsewhere, it’s challenging how we talk about the Civil Rights Movement today.

Featuring: 

  • Robert Heath, Monroe resident and community organizer 
  • Patricia Poland, retired genealogy and local history librarian of the Union County Library
  • Ormand Moore, Monroe native and Humanities Instructor at North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics

Special thanks to the Henry Hampton Collections at Washington University Libraries, the Southern Oral History Program at UNC-Chapel Hill, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, and WBTV in Charlotte. 

Links: 

  • You can find a transcript of the episode here.

Donate: The Broadside is made possible by contributions from listeners like you. Support WUNC-North Carolina Public Radio and this podcast by making a donation