Creative Commons / Pixnio

The exuberance of spring is axiomatic, but as every spring has its own theme, so does the spring of 2021.  New life and longer days and warmer air and the riotous generosity of nature explode in stark contrast to the rigid stricture of six feet apart, masks, disinfectant, solitude. 

NC League of Conservation Voters Foundation

Deborah Dicks Maxwell was born in Wilmington, North Carolina and calls it home, but she’s lived and traveled around the world. 

Attributed to Frederick Kemmelmeyer
Public Domain, from Metropolitan Museum of Art

America was born out of violence in a battle against taxation without representation.  After winning a bloody eight-year war against Great Britain, Americans created the first modern constitutional democracy.   

Brayton Willis / Brunswick County NAACP

Former First Lady Michelle Obama.  Comedian Chris Rock.  Basketball superstar Michael Jordan.  The Godfather of Soul James Brown.  These are just a few of the well-known Americans who are descendants of the Gullah Geechee people. 


The Creekwood community in Wilmington, a housing project often referred to as part of the inner city, is still somewhat isolated. 

LINC, Inc.

Imagine having a brother who is addicted heroin.  He keeps winding up in prison.  You're younger, but you know better.  And so you build your life without him. 

The Wilmington Ten:  nine men and one woman – wrongly accused and convicted of arson and conspiracy.   Each of the ten serving substantial prison time for crimes they did not commit.  The nine men were African-American.  The woman was white.  The violence that erupted in Wilmington fifty years ago, in early February 1971, was fomented by racial tension, desegregation, and active white supremacist groups facing off against black activists who were demanding equal rights and equal educational opportunities. 

Wikimedia Commons / Marc Nozell - Merrimac, NH

When you first heard about a horde of protestors storming the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, who did you believe was responsible? 

Has the responsible party changed in your mind since you first heard the news? 

It’s a special holiday edition of CoastLine with two original stories of the season.  

Zelda Lockhart is a Visiting Associate Professor in the Creative Writing Department at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.  She is the 2010 winner of the Piedmont Laureate for Literature.   And she is the author of three novels, including Fifth Born and Fifth Born 2:  The Hundredth Turtle.

Ricky Meeks

Sheila Boles played for the first women’s basketball team at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.  She won the first women’s basketball scholarship the next year, and she became the team’s first MVP. 

The debate over reparations for African-Americans, descendants of those brought to the United States as enslaved people, has existed since the very end of the Civil War.  It’s taken various forms ranging from the idea of 40 acres and a mule to monetary payments.  But from 1861 to 2020, the idea has never gained serious traction in state legislatures or on Capitol Hill. 

During the pandemic of 2020, parents are working from home, many people have lost their jobs, and business owners and employees are wondering how they’ll get their financial heads above water again.  Anxiety about venturing out plagues those who are more vulnerable, and those who are vigilant about mask-wearing are bothered by those who are not.  


North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein says DuPont company officials have known for four decades that its chemicals are harmful to humans.  The allegation is part of a lawsuit filed last month by the state Department of Justice.  

Vince Winkel

PFAS, a class of manmade chemicals in the drinking water supply of the Cape Fear region, are unregulated, likely carcinogenic and otherwise toxic to humans, and are still entering the air and water in southeastern North Carolina. 

More than a week has passed since the 2020 Election.  President-Elect Joe Biden is moving forward with his transition plans, key Republican leaders are quiet, and there are questions about whether the American public is as divided as it’s ever been.  In North Carolina, Republicans head into the next legislative session with an as-yet unofficial 70-50 majority in the House and a 29-21 majority in the Senate.

One of Wilmington’s major arteries, Market Street, is named for an antebellum slave market.  Bedford Forest Drive in Wilmington honors Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate General and the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.  That street is intersected by Robert E. Lee  Drive.  

Ben Schachtman and Rachel Lewis Hilburn unpack the dynamics that are shaping the 2020 Election in North Carolina and the Cape Fear region -- including a look at the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision extending the deadline for absentee ballots, how super PACs are trying to influence some races, who all these unaffiliated voters might be, and why politics is so divergent from policy-making.  

WHQR / Katelyn Freund

North Carolina’s Congressional District map has faced criticism for years.  In 2018, a federal court declared it unconstitutional and gerrymandered to favor Republican candidates.  

WHQR / Katelyn Freund

North Carolina’s House District 20 has new boundaries in time for the 2020 elections.  What used to be a district that included northern New Hanover County is now a smaller area and no longer includes Kure Beach or Carolina Beach.  

North Carolina Senate District 8 includes the whole of Brunswick, Bladen, and Pender Counties.  But this year, there’s another piece added to the district – a very small slice of New Hanover County’s northernmost part. 

North Carolina’s House District 18, redrawn for the 2020 elections, no longer includes any part of Brunswick County.  It’s now strictly a northern New Hanover County territory with more unaffiliated voters than those registered as Democrats or Republicans. 

North Carolina’s House District 19, redrawn for the 2020 elections, now includes a southern portion of Brunswick County – in addition to the southernmost part of New Hanover County.  It’s a district that has, for the last four-and-a-half terms, been served by Representative Ted Davis, Junior. 

WHQR / Katelyn Freund

New Hanover County’s Board of Commissioners has five seats.  Each member is elected to a staggered, four-year term.  In 2020, there are three open seats.

New Hanover County’s Board of Commissioners has five seats.  Each member is elected to a staggered, four-year term.  In 2020, there are three open seats.


North Carolina Senate District 9 covers the majority of New Hanover County – with the exception of small northern slice that is part of District 8. 


President Donald Trump paid his first visit to the Cape Fear region Wednesday during the 2020 election season.  His agenda:  to declare Wilmington the first official World War Two Heritage City.   But it’s an opportune time and place for the Republican incumbent; since North Carolina is a battleground state with a slight Republican lean, it’s likely this is only the first of a series of visits from the candidates. 

Cape Fear Collective


Covid-19 shut down North Carolina in March.  A cautious re-opening plan by state officials has led to a flattening of the case count curve, but the restrictions have also stalled commerce. 


Hurricane Isaias accomplished what even Covid-19 couldn’t do:  delayed the start of the new academic year for students at year-round schools in New Hanover County.  Traditional schools are still slated to begin August 17th. 

Sterling Publishing

Disney, Nickelodeon, and PBS have all run shows – some of them hit shows – created by Fracaswell Hyman.  He is a writer, producer, and director of children’s television.  He is also an actor who makes his home in Wilmington with his husband, their daughter, and a schnoodle. 

Domestic violence incidents spiked during the early part of the pandemic shutdown around the globe.