Justine Kenin

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"The South."

It's not a neutral term for most Americans. But love it or hate it, a new book says you must appreciate its good, bad and ugly sides to understand the country.

The book is South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation.

Its author, Imani Perry, says, "We can't deny parts of who we are, particularly when those parts are the ones that set the stage for what the nation would become."

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In 1997, the writer Antoine Wilson was visiting Seattle. He was down by the water with some friends.

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From her shop in eastern Mexico City, Tania Hernandez begins making piñatas for the holiday season as early as October.

That's because piñatas are essential to celebrating Christmas in Mexico. Specifically, traditional ones in the form of a seven-point star.

The reason why goes back years, and continents.

The Posadas tradition

Hernandez says her favorite piñata to make is that traditional one.

Federal and state recovery efforts have already begun for the parts of western Kentucky that were devastated by a deadly tornado earlier this month, but officials say a full recovery could take years. The storm left at least 77 people dead and resulted in millions of dollars worth of damage.

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If you have tuned in to an NBA game this season, you might have noticed something weird. A lot of this...

(SOUNDBITE OF MONTAGE)

UNIDENTIFIED SPORTSCASTER #1: Tatum is going to take. Nope.

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is declaring victory as his administration begins to enforce a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all city workers. As of today, 91% of the city's workforce has had at least one shot.

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Earlier this year, an upstart won a Grammy in the category of Roots Gospel.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: And the Grammy goes to "Celebrating Fisk!"

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The celebrated TV show "The Sopranos" finished its six-season run in 2007. James Gandolfini was at the heart of the series, playing mob boss Tony Soprano in the New Jersey suburbs.

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After what we've all been through the last 18 months, we desperately need a laugh. But there hasn't been much to laugh about. Josh Johnson was one of the few brave comics who tried to hold up a funhouse mirror to the pandemic.

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This was most of America's introduction to nuclear power.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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While many DC reporters are focused on the White House or Capitol Hill, news of a different stripe has been grabbing attention.

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Five zebras are on the loose in the D.C. suburbs in Prince George's County, Md.

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Robert E. Lee lost the Civil War, and now his statue has lost its place on Richmond's Monument Avenue. A pair of filmmakers tells the story of why both those things matter.

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