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Selected Work

The College That Refused to Die

What happens when survival becomes a college's No. 1 priority? St. Andrews University offers a cautionary tale. 

The Assembly, August 16, 2023

How to Sell a University

President Nido Qubein remade High Point University from a struggling college to a booming campus known for "wow" amenities, flag-waving patriotism and a "life-skills" focus that reflects his philosophy. He's not done yet. 

The Assembly, January, 5, 2023. Co-written with Melanie Sill

The Shooter in the Video

When Pitt County's district attorney prosecuted former pro-basketball player James Richardson  for a drive-by double murder in 2011, he showed surveillance footage to convince jurors of Richardson's guilt. Did a low-quality video help convict the wrong man? 

The Assembly, June 15, 2022

The Archivist for the Lost Cause

J.G. de Roulhac Hamilton built UNC-Chapel Hill's renowned Southern Historical Collection. He was also an apologist for the Ku Klux Klan and taught that Black people were inferior to whites. As the university debates removing the professor's name from Hamilton Hall, his complicated legacy lives on in the archive. 

The Assembly,  August 18, 2021

Southern neighborhoods have been named ‘plantations’ for decades. That could be changing.

In recent years, even as activists have decried Confederate monuments and flags, developers have continued using “plantation” in neighborhood names to evoke elegance. But now plantation place names and the word itself are under new scrutiny.

Washington Post,  June 30, 2020

One Charlotte Woman’s Struggle With the ‘Getting Ahead’ Myth

For generations, economists, pundits, and holders of public office have told the poor that pulling themselves out of poverty was just a matter of acquiring the right skills, making the right choices, and having the right attitude. In a city where getting ahead is practically a religion, Cheryl Potts has done a lot right—and she hasn’t gotten far.

Charlotte Magazine,  March 25, 2020

From Brooklyn to Ballantyne: The Story Behind Charlotte's Affordable Housing Crisis

Charlotte’s history of affordable housing includes broken promises and empty gestures. Now that the city’s chronic shortage has become a crisis, leaders are responding with unprecedented resources. Will this time be different?

Charlotte Journalism Collaborative,  June 16, 2019

Finding Home: The Fight To Save Smithville

Residents of Cornelius’s Smithville neighborhood have endured segregation, sewage problems, civic neglect. Last year, when the state proposed a road through part of their community, few people – not even Smithville residents – would have predicted what would happen next.

WFAE, February 24, 2019

Old Anger and a Lost Neighborhood in Charlotte

The demise of Brooklyn—one of the nation’s oldest black neighborhoods before urban renewal—sheds light on the forces that have led to today’s city-wide anger. This article was written following Keith Lamont Scott's shooting death. 

CityLab, October 11, 2016

White people in Biddleville: The story of a changing neighborhood

A new desire for urban living is transforming Biddleville, Charlotte's oldest African-American neighborhood. Amid revitalization, there's worry that residents will be displaced and history lost. Gentrification has accelerated since this was published.

Charlotte Observer, March 18, 2016

Small pigs, fried Oreos, a sprawl of humanity

An exploration of globalism at the Barnyard Flea Market.

Charlotte Observer, June 27, 2014

Mr. Merritt's Class

For the 2005-06 school year, Pam Kelley followed teacher Jeremiah Merritt and his fifth-graders in one of Charlotte's highest-poverty schools. The series won a first place in the national Missouri Lifestyle Journalism Awards. This link includes a selection of stories.

Charlotte Observer,  2005 - 2006

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