D.G. Martin

Be Proud Of The Way You Talk

You sure do talk funny. Has anybody ever told you that? If you grew up in North Carolina and moved somewhere else for a while, you surely got that kind of question from folks who just had to laugh when they heard you talk. Or if you grew up somewhere else and moved here, folks may have told you that they know you are not from around here. They may have even said, “You talk like a Yankee.” Is there something special about the way we talk here in North Carolina? The best person to answer is Walt Wolfram,...

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New Books, Times, And Authors For Bookwatch

There are three pieces of good news about my favorite television program, UNC-TV’s North Carolina Bookwatch: First, upcoming new programs feature some of North Carolina’s most interesting authors. UNC-Greensboro’s Michael Parker’s new novel follows a North Carolina man who packs up a truck, runs away from his troubles here, and winds up in Texas. On a used car lot, he meets a woman who wants to buy the same 1984 Buick Electra that he had decided to buy. Inexplicably, they buy it together. Then Parker brings the stories of these two people and the car into one surprising and...

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North Carolina-Florida Women: Political Bellwethers

What important Democratic woman politician, a Wake Forest alumna who was born in North Carolina and later moved to Florida, has gained national attention this year for her candidacy in a critical bellwether election? There are two correct answers. First, Senator Kay Hagan. Although born in North Carolina, she grew up in Florida, where her family had long been politically active. She worked on campaigns for her uncle, the late U.S. Senator and Florida Governor Lawton Chiles. After graduating from Florida State, she came back to North Carolina for law school at Wake Forest. She stayed here to marry,...

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“A Mountain Populist To The Very End”

When long-time legislator and lawyer Martin Nesbitt died last week at age 67, he was already on my mind for a column. The news of his stomach cancer, followed quickly by his death, shocked those who remembered his powerful presence as a representative and then state senator. Nesbitt was one of North Carolina’s all-time great legislative leaders. For that I admired him greatly. But we sometimes ran into difficulties back in the 1990s when I was representing the university system, and he was trying to take into account the needs of the entire state in his role as chair...

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North Carolina’s Tribal Rivalries

Have we gotten used to all the national attention on North Carolina and our tribal rivalries? Do we mind the reports of the mean-spiritedness, the rudeness, the shouts and ranting, the unsupported ugly comments about the opposition and its motives, and the hateful remarks about the leaders of the other group? Am I thinking about Republicans denouncing the Rev. William Barber and the Moral Monday marchers? Or the angry marchers condemning Governor Pat McCrory, Art Pope, and the state legislature? It could be, in some other week. But this week the reports about our tribal rivalries focus on UNC-Duke...

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Planting Native, Saving Our Diversity

“First question for you,” says UNC-TV’s Exploring North Carolina host, Tom Earnhardt, when he begins his talk to a Rotary club or other civic group, “is how many of you have spare parts somewhere in your body?” A few hands go up. “I’m not just talking about new knees or organ transplants,” he prods on. “What about cataract eye surgery? Or a tooth implant?” More hands go up, and Earnhardt continues, explaining that all those new parts have to fit in with the body’s system. They have to work with other parts of the body just like the parts...

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Documenting Down East’s Disappearing Way Of Life

“Down East” in North Carolina does not mean what you think it means. Larry Earley, former editor of “Wildlife in North Carolina” magazine and author of Looking for Longleaf: The Fall and Rise of an American Forest, moved to the community of Atlantic in 2006 to live one week a month while photographing the working boats of Core Sound. He learned from his neighbors that “‘Down East’ North Carolina refers to the wet peninsula lying east of Beaufort, in coastal Carteret County, with its broad skies, extravagant marshes, shallow sounds, and notched bays.” Earley complains, “Politicians, reporters, and TV...

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Truth In Fiction: How Bad Did The Recession Hurt?

The good news for all of us in North Carolina is that the unemployment rate is declining and the increase in economic activity is opening up new jobs to replace some of those we lost during the recession. The bad news is that some North Carolinians are never going to recover from the disruption the financial crisis caused their career paths. How do we measure that impact? How do we understand the turmoil and strain in each individual’s situation? What are these folks doing now? How did the sudden change in their lifestyles affect the rest of their lives?...

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Novel Follows An Athlete’s Rest-Of-Life

What happens to a promising young athlete’s career when it comes to an end earlier than expected or hoped? In major college athletics – football, basketball, and possibly baseball – almost every player hopes for a chance to play in the pros. Most won’t get it. Will the educational experience given in exchange for the play prepare these athletes as well or better for a life of work and service than the other alternatives available to them? Wiley Cash’s new novel gives a painful look at one case involving the life of a promising athlete who tried an alternate...

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A Richly Complex Response To A Simple Call

“Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.” These words from Isaiah 6:8 inspired the daughter of a pre-Civil-War Southern slaveholder to travel to Africa as the wife of a Baptist missionary to bring the Word of the Lord to the Yoruba people in what is now Nigeria. Those real facts are the basis of North Carolina State University Professor Elaine Neil Orr’s fictional account, A Different Sun: A Novel of Africa. Putting aside the irony of Americans from a region where millions of Africans were enslaved taking a...

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