The world is at war and you want to help fight it. So you board a train to a secret town in Tennessee that doesn't appear on any map, to work on a project that you will never truly know about. And, yet, this project will end the war. That was the fascinating story for the thousands of woman who toiled to help build a bomb without really knowing that's what they were doing. Frequent guest Denise Kiernan chronicles this mystery in her latest book, The Girls of Atomic City. Kiernan uses exhaustive research and interviews with living war veterans to uncover how the Army managed to keep the project secret from its own workers and she highlights the stories of some of the women who worked there. She'll share her story with us when Charlotte Talks.

Part One: Old Salem. Just as our country was being forged in the halls of the Continental Congress and birthed in the Revolutionary war, a group of hardy Moravian immigrants was building a settlement in the Piedmont of North Carolina. The town of Salem sprang up and still remains just outside of Winston-Salem. Today it is a living museum, a window into some of the earliest founders of our state. We’ll visit with the President of Old Salem Inc., a company devoted to the settlement and to educating North Carolinians and other visitors on life in colonial North Carolina. Follow us back in time when Charlotte Talks.

Many people feel a little bit down on rainy days but find that they are smiling and happy when the sun shines. Kids get excited when it might snow and we all watch thunderstorms anxiously, but weather can have a much larger and more critical influence on our lives. Throughout history, major events have been shaped by the weather conditions. The outcome of major battles, famous discoveries and critical dates in our history have been impacted by storms or extreme temperature conditions. We'll look at some of the most famous moments in history and how weather played a role. 

Martha Spurrier May

There are important moments in the development of any large city. Charlotte's history goes back to the fortuitous intersection of two trading paths that later became Trade and Tryon Streets. But there is another critical moment in the development of our region and it is forever tied to a tent city on the outskirts of town during the first World War. Camp Greene was not here long but its story, and the story of the town that became a city around it has been a nearly three decade long quest for Jack Dillard. Mr. Dillard has studied the history of the camp since the early '80’s and he recently made a documentary chronicling the camp's history. We'll learn more about this pivotal time in our region, when Charlotte Talks.

From 1960 to 1962, Cuban parents put more than 14,000 of their own children on planes bound for the US. Operation Pedro Pan was intended to remove these children from Castro’s influence and indoctrination. Most people believed this would be a temporary solution but many families were never able to reunite. We learn more about this, the complicated relations between our two nations and a possible solution when Charlotte Talks.

Amy Rogers

Latkes? Check. Chanukah gifts? Check.

Brandy-soaked sugar cubes to set afire…What’s that? You’ve never taken part in a Flaming Tea Ceremony for Chanukah?

Neither had I, nor anyone I knew, not in all our years of celebrating the Jewish holiday known as the "Festival of Lights."

It goes like this: Everyone at the table soaks a sugar cube in brandy, places it in a teaspoon, lights it with a candle, sings a holiday song, then drops the little fireball into a glass of tea, which puts out the flame. Then everyone drinks their tea.

There has perhaps been more conversation about the end of our world in the last decade than ever before in world history. From Y2K to an American preacher twice predicting the world's end, to a minor asteroid scare, we’ve heard a lot about the Earth’s demise. But no "end days" announcement has captured our attention more than the Mayans. The ancient Central American civilization lived by a calendar that predicted the world's end on December 21st, 2012. Recent reports regarding this prediction have ranged from hysteria to disdain. Even officials of the Mayan Cultural Festival are already planning next year’s event. But, just in case the Mayans are right, we’re talking about their end of time prediction before December 21st. Join us for a fascinating look at the Mayans with a local expert when Charlotte Talks - for perhaps the last time.

As Americans, there are things we all think we know about the greatest country in the world, but do we really know stuff that every American should know? That's the premise put forth by prolific authors, Denise Kiernan and Joe D'Agnese. Previously they've illuminated the lives of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and they specialize in lesser known items of American History.


There is a storied part of Southern Culture that some revere and others ridicule: debutante society. The holiday season is also one of debutante balls where young women of the upper crust make their debut as legitimate members of grown-up society. The practice dates back to earlier times and - despite the changes wrought by modern times - continues. A closer look at why debutante society was important in the past and why it continues when Charlotte Talks.

Wikipedia Commons

Almost 300 years ago, Blackbeard the Pirate ran aground off the coast of North Carolina and, to this day, treasure hunters believe there is a rich trove of pirate's booty hidden somewhere in the state. Historian and author Kevin Duffus believes he has found Blackbeard's treasure, but it's not the form of riches you might imagine and you won't find it in history books. Duffus will join us to paint a detailed picture of Blackbeard's impact on the state, the real treasure he sought and a glimpse into a pirate's life that may surprise you.