When the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union last month, the seaside town of Port Talbot in Wales eagerly went along with the move. Brexit was approved by some 57 percent of the town's residents.

Now some of them are wondering if they made the wrong decision.

The June 23 Brexit vote has raised questions about the fate of the troubled Port Talbot Works, Britain's largest surviving steel plant — a huge, steam-belching facility that has long been the town's biggest employer.

Solar Impulse 2 has landed in Cairo, completing the penultimate leg of its attempt to circumnavigate the globe using only the power of the sun.

The trip over the Mediterranean included a breathtaking flyover of the Pyramids. Check it out:

President Obama is challenging Americans to have an honest and open-hearted conversation about race and law enforcement. But even as he sits down at the White House with police and civil rights activists, Obama is mindful of the limits of that approach.

"I've seen how inadequate words can be in bringing about lasting change," the president said Tuesday at a memorial service for five law officers killed last week in Dallas. "I've seen how inadequate my own words have been."

Mice watching Orson Welles movies may help scientists explain human consciousness.

At least that's one premise of the Allen Brain Observatory, which launched Wednesday and lets anyone with an Internet connection study a mouse brain as it responds to visual information.

The FBI says it is giving up on the D.B. Cooper investigation, 45 years after the mysterious hijacker parachuted into the night with $200,000 in a briefcase, becoming an instant folk figure.

"Following one of the longest and most exhaustive investigations in our history," the FBI's Ayn Dietrich-Williams said in a statement, "the FBI redirected resources allocated to the D.B. Cooper case in order to focus on other investigative priorities."

This is the first in a series of essays concerning our collective future. The goal is to bring forth some of the main issues humanity faces today, as we move forward to uncertain times. In an effort to be as thorough as possible, we will consider two kinds of threats: those due to natural disasters and those that are man-made. The idea is to expose some of the dangers and possible mechanisms that have been proposed to deal with these issues. My intention is not to offer a detailed analysis for each threat — but to invite reflection and, hopefully, action.

Alabama authorities say a home burglary suspect has died after police used a stun gun on the man.  Birmingham police say he resisted officers who found him in a house wrapped in what looked like material from the air conditioner duct work.  The Lewisburg Road homeowner called police Tuesday about glass breaking and someone yelling and growling in his basement.  Police reportedly entered the dwelling and used a stun gun several times on a white suspect before handcuffing him.  Investigators say the man was "extremely irritated" throughout and didn't obey verbal commands.

It can be hard to distinguish among the men wearing grey suits and regulation haircuts on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington. But David Margolis always brought a splash of color.

It wasn't his lovably disheveled wardrobe, or his Elvis ring, but something else: the force of his flamboyant personality. Margolis, a graduate of Harvard Law School, didn't want to fit in with the crowd. He wanted to stand out.

Montgomery Education Foundation's Brain Forest Summer Learning Academy was spotlighted Wednesday at Carver High School.  The academic-enrichment program is for rising 4th, 5th, and 6th graders in the Montgomery Public School system.  Community Program Director Dillion Nettles, says the program aims to prevent learning loss during summer months.  To find out how your child can participate in next summer's program visit Montgomery-ed.org

A police officer is free on bond after being arrested following a rash of road-sign thefts in southeast Alabama.  Brantley Police Chief Titus Averett says officer Jeremy Ray Walker of Glenwood is on paid leave following his arrest in Pike County.  The 30-year-old Walker is charged with receiving stolen property.  Lt. Troy Johnson of the Pike County Sheriff's Office says an investigation began after someone reported that Walker was selling road signs from Crenshaw County.  Investigators contacted the county engineer and learned signs had been reported stolen from several roads.


Looking For Lost Memories In The Delta

Jan 5, 2013
Originally published on January 5, 2013 8:14 pm

Photographer Eugene Richards had several reasons to visit the Arkansas Delta 40 years after his initial visit.

"I went back, ostensibly, to look at the culture and see if there was anything left of it," he says. Or at least — that was the pitch he gave National Geographic magazine, in hopes that it would send him there, which it did. You can see the story in the magazine's November issue.

Richards' real motivation for returning, though, he tells NPR host Jacki Lyden, was a bit more personal. He wanted to see what he could remember — to fill the ineluctable void in memory that comes with age.

"Every once in a while, in all of our lives, the void becomes a little overwhelming and you try to fill it. So I went back trying to fill an emptiness," he says. "I found that I couldn't even find the places that I knew profoundly."

Richards struggled to find the places he had known so well — for two reasons. Primarily because, as the National Geographic article explains, the segregated sharecropping culture that once typified the region has been all but eclipsed by industrial farming.

"Everything [still] exists, but on a smaller scale. The churches exist," he says, "but they might have six people — where they might have been jammed before."

The challenge of digging up old haunts was even harder for Richards, though, because of his issues with memory. He suffered a serious head injury when he was younger. And though he rarely talks about it (because, in his mind, who wants to hire an injured photographer?), it has had a serious impact on his life.

"One of my reasons to go back was that I was embarrassed by it — that I couldn't remember my years there," he says.

Ultimately, though, perhaps it's a futile effort. Even those who remember everything can't control the way things change. The fact is, memories might remain intact, but people and places rarely do.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.



When the photographer Eugene Richards was a young man, he left Massachusetts for the Arkansas Delta where he volunteered in the small city of Augusta. Though segregated and even dangerous, the Delta still had vibrant local traditions, which he documented with his camera. Decades later, industrial farming has emptied the Delta geographically, and, as he found through his lens, almost spiritually.

That's what was depicted in Richards's recent photo essay for National Geographic when he went back after 40 years. When we spoke, I asked him about first coming to Augusta, Arkansas.

EUGENE RICHARDS: It was a sharecropper culture, and there's a little romantization of things. You've got to be very, very careful because the people there were very poor and sometimes actually extremely hungry - lack of food, nutrition, all kinds of tragic underpinnings. But on the other hand, there was a spiritual largeness. And what we talked about is all the times, poor as people were, they always wanted - they were working their butts off in order for their kids to have a better life.

LYDEN: Right. I think it says in the National Geographic article that at the time, the per capita income of the people there was about $68 a year.


LYDEN: And, of course, we're talking just 40 years ago, not 100 years ago. So as you returned for this article with National Geographic in which you shot these wonderful pictures, what was flashing through your mind?

RICHARDS: I went back for a couple of reasons. I went back ostensibly - and this is what I persuaded the editors - to look at the culture and if there was anything left of it and had a lot of trouble, initially. Asked what it was like, I found out that I couldn't even find the places that I knew.

LYDEN: You mean they'd been wiped off the map?

RICHARDS: Yes. The sharecrop existence. The houses they lived in, the land they lived in has changed profoundly. The houses, they looked like, you know, the great Mississippi had washed them all away. They're gone. I recall the - one of the first times that I went back there, I went out on a road and there was these three houses that I used to visit regularly. It took me a long time to find the place that they were because now the old wooden bridge was now concrete bridge, on and on and on. But I found it, and I went around with my hands - it was early morning - and feeling around to try to find some remnant of these houses.

And I remember I couldn't find anything. And behind me, when I turned around - it was one of the nifty days in the Delta morning - there was a 40-year-old man standing there. That's what I figured he was. And I - he said: What are you doing? And I says: I'm trying to find - there was a plantation here and these houses are here. And he said: I lived here my whole life, and they've never been here. So there's a - in other words - and I know that they were. So there's a denial of a lifestyle. But it's also, on the other hand, the manifestations of that lifestyle were gone.

LYDEN: Yeah. Wow.. One of these pictures that you have - speaking of that place where the imagination borders and bleeds into reality - is a picture of ruby red slippers, as worn by Dorothy, and they're inside a Lucite box. And you write that they glowed like broken glass. Tell us about taking that picture, please.

RICHARDS: There were three little houses in the town of Lehigh, which were - turned out to be farm labor houses. And on the outside porch were these absolutely amazingly red glowing slippers that you recognized right away from "The Wizard of Oz." And they were sitting there, and so I made the photo rounds. You find these things, and in my - in your mind - because it's an - everything's empty, the houses are torn up - you say to yourself, maybe I should take them with me. But I've never been able to do that. These belong here.

A month later, I came back with my wife Jeanine, and I was looking for them. And as we arrived at the house, a van pulled up. And outside, about seven or eight - actually, I'm not exaggerating - huge men came out covered with tattoos, wearing torn T-shirts and military outfits, asked me what we were there for. And Jean pops up. She says: I'm here to see the red shoes. And this tough, armored man says: You mean Dorothy's shoes, maybe sort of internally smile. But they were gone. It was like one of those things that happen, surreal things that happen all the time to all us who go on the road where things don't make sense. But they do make sense later.

LYDEN: Where are all the people who came to work there, thousands of people who were the descendants of former slaves, sharecroppers who came from around the Delta region? How has big agriculture changed things, and where did those people go?

RICHARDS: It's been an outmigration - it's classic outmigration to Chicago, in many cases, in the people from the Delta where it just got to be too much. The schools weren't good for so many years. Racial separation was there. And people wanted to make life better. And also, there was no work because big machines came in. So now you have tractors when you had people working in the fields by hand. So there was no work. Right now, I feel, when I was there, that all you have left is a support group, you know, for a large mass of agricultural business. And in time, these people will go. Basically, they're not needed. It's a disposable population.

LYDEN: In one of your last pictures in the magazine, we do see young children there today from a family called Kern, the Kern family.


LYDEN: And they're walking down a road past a huge field petting their dogs. Is there anything traditional still there - used to be music and oral tales - that binds these communities together any longer?

RICHARDS: Yes. Well, everything exists but on a smaller scale. The churches exist. They're spread all over the place. But they might have six people in the church while the place would have been jammed before. The thing that doesn't exist is that feeling, at least in my mind, you know, you have an experience - you don't want to say that my experience down there even recently was everybody's experience. But there's not the sense of hope that there was before. And you could feel it.

The kids, you say, what do they want to do? And they shrug, and they say nothing. I just want to, you know, be - live my life out here. Before, there was always that the kids wanted to get out. They wanted to somehow help their parents succeed, move out into the world. And that seemed to be gone.

LYDEN: That's Eugene Richards. His photography was featured in the November issue of the National Geographic, and you can see the photos we talked about and others at our website, npr.org. Eugene Richards, thank you so much.

RICHARDS: Thanks so much.


LYDEN: This is NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.