The Ambiguous Artisan

North Carolina’s most important furniture maker was a free man of color who owned slaves. He also might have been an abolitionist. Is the state ready for his story?

Wheels of Fortune

Dwayne Davis had an unusual opportunity to buy his way out of a long prison sentence. Then the deal blew up.

Do The Right Thing

The State Employees’ Credit Union is embroiled in a fight over who will decide the identity and future of the country’s second-largest credit union. 

Garbage In, Toxics Out

A Zebulon recycling facility with a record of violations undercuts claims about turning plastic waste into an environmental benefit.


Fed Up

A gathering of far-right sheriffs who believe they are “the last line of defense” against the government draws both praise and scrutiny. 


Keeping the Lights On

Duke Energy has billed a new $14.5 million microgrid project in Hot Springs as a leap forward. But will it lead to greater grid resilience?

A Site To Behold

The pandemic rush into wild places accelerated human damage to places like Max Patch. Can outdoor enthusiasts balance conservation and access?

Why Some Stay

Climate change is making life along the Lumber River more uncertain. But for many people, moving isn’t a meaningful option.


Schoolyard Brawl

Orange County has been swept up in cultural clashes over education. Superintendent Monique Felder is the latest casualty.

Featured Stories

Parable of the Sower

Like most startups, the majority of new churches fail. With the blessing of a major international evangelical network, a young pastor tries to start a church in an unexpected place. Will it take root?

A Cultural Institution at a Crossroads

Work at Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies has all but stopped for the last 18 past months. Nine staff have quit, and more expect to be laid off this week. Its new director is promising a new era—but what comes next is unclear.