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The Road to Now

Bob Crawford (The Avett Brothers) & Dr. Ben Sawyer (MTSU History) share conversations with great thinkers from a variety of backgrounds – historians, artists, legal scholars, political figures and more –who help us uncover the many roads that run between past and present. For more information, visit TheRoadToNow.com If you'd like to support our work, join us on Patreon: Patreon.com/TheRoadToNow
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Now displaying: July, 2022
Jul 25, 2022

You might know Bushwick Bill as a member of the iconic Houston rap group The Geto Boys, but his contributions to rap music, his role in the debates over free speech in the 1990s, and his overall influence are far more substantial than you probably realize. In this episode, we welcome Charles Hughes back to the show to discuss his new book Why Bushwick Bill Matters (Univ. of Texas Press) and to get a better understanding of the challenges and triumphs that shaped one of rap history’s most influential artists.

Dr. Charles Hughes is the Director of the Lynne and Henry Turley Memphis Center at Rhodes College. His previous books include  Country Soul: Making Music and Making Race in the American South which Rolling Stone named one of the Best Music Books of 2015. You can hear our previous conversation with Charles in episode #25 The History of Country and Soul Music in the American South w/ Charles Hughes. You can follow Charles on twitter at @CharlesLHughes2.

This episode was edited by Gary Fletcher.

Jul 18, 2022

Ben tells Bob how Thai food became so prominent in the US and shares the story of the bizarre origins and sudden demolition of the Georgia Guidestones. Ben also gives an update on Hillsdale College President Larry Arnn’s (of 1776 Commission fame) recent comments that teachers come from “the dumbest parts of the dumbest colleges in the country” and that he wants to “demonstrate that you don’t have to be an expert educate a child because basically anybody can do it” (all of which he said as Tennessee Governor Bill Lee sat quietly next to him.)

Sources and Relevant Material

Phil Williams, “REVEALED: Teachers come from ‘dumbest parts of dumbest colleges,’’ Tenn. Governor’s education advisor tells him.” News Channel 5 Nashville, June 30, 2022.

The Goods from the Woods podcast #337 “Zagnut Factory w/ Ben Sawyer” (July 13, 2022).

This episode was edited by Gary Fletcher.

Jul 11, 2022

Robert E. Lee’s surrender to General Ulysses S. Grant on April 9, 1865 marked the end of the American Civil War, but it was just one of many times that officers and soldiers faced the reality of surrender. Throughout the four years of the war, approximately one in four soldiers surrendered to the opposing army. In this episode, David Silkenat explains how looking at surrender as both an experience and a set of codes offers a new and insightful perspective on the Civil War and those who lived through it.

Dr. David Silkenat is Senior Lecturer in American History at the University of Edinburgh and author of four books, including Waving the White Flag: How Surrender Defined the American Civil War (UNC Press, 2019). He is also the cohost of The Whiskey Rebellion podcast alongside Frank Cogliano. You can follow David on twitter at @davidsilkenat.

This episode is a rebroadcast of RTN #135, which originally aired on July 8th 2019.

This episode was originally edited by Gary Fletcher. This rebroadcast was edited by Ben Sawyer.

Jul 4, 2022

Jenna Spinelle joins Ben & Bob for a discussion about her new podcast, When the People Decide, which traces the origins of ballot initiatives in the United States and their impact on American politics in recent years.

Jenna Spinelle is the Communications Specialist for the McCourtney Institute for Democracy at Penn State, where she also teaches classes in the college of communications. You can follow her on twitter at @JennaSpinelle.

To learn more about the differences between initiatives and popular referenda and which states allow citizens to directly propose laws, visit The National Conference of State Legislatures’ guide to the Initiative and Referendum Processes.

This episode was edited by Gary Fletcher.

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