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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: February, 2023
Feb 27, 2023

Andrew Young was already an iconic civil rights leader and sitting Congressman from Georgia’s 5th District when a dark horse candidate named Jimmy Carter asked for his support in the 1976 Presidential election. Young found Carter to be an honest man and spoke highly of him. Carter, in turn, appointed Young as the US Ambassador to the United Nations and tasked him with reshaping American foreign policy.

In this episode, Andrew Young joins Bob for a conversation about his work in the Carter administration, the shared vision of US foreign policy in Africa that strengthened their relationship, and the mutual trust that developed from their time working together. 

This conversation was recorded on May 11, 2021 as part of the audio docu-series Concerts of Change: The Soundtrack of Human Rights, which Bob produced with SiriusXM in 2022. You can hear that series on the SiriusXM app and learn more about it in RTN #228.

This episode was edited by Bob Crawford and Ben Sawyer.

Feb 20, 2023

A Presidency is defined by the decisions that a person makes while serving as Executive, but a Presidential legacy is about much more than that. In the new book, Mourning the Presidents: Loss and Legacy in American Culture, (UVA Press, 2023) Lindsay Chervinsky and Matthew Costello have brought together a collection of chapters that explore the ways that mourning ceremonies, causes of death, and moments of passing impact the way that we remember a President at the time they die, and how new research and a more inclusive understanding of US history have reshaped Presidential legacies in the years that follow. In this episode, Lindsay joins Ben and Bob for a conversation about some of the fascinating stories crafted by the book’s contributing authors and how the legacies of George Washington, FDR, Ronald Reagan, and other former commanders-in-chief, might tell us more about ourselves than the individuals who have served as President.

Dr. Lindsay Chervinsky is a historian of the American Presidency who is currently a fellow at the Kluge Center at the Library of Congress and a Senior Fellow at the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University. Her first book, The Cabinet: George Washington and the Creation of an American Institution (Belknap Press, 2020) won multiple awards and was the topic of our conversation for her first appearance on The Road to Now in episode 184. You can learn more about Lindsay and her work at her website: LindsayChervinsky.com

If you enjoyed this episode, you’ll probably also like our conversation with Jeffrey Engle on the history of Presidential impeachment (RTN episode 109).

This episode was edited by Gary Fletcher.

Feb 13, 2023

In the 20th Century, leaders in Atlanta and Charlotte championed a “New South” vision that they hoped would attract the investment needed to transform their regional trading hubs into world-class urban centers. The success in both cases was undeniable, but it was also not equal. Despite Charlotte’s success as a banking hub, it has lagged far behind Atlanta in terms of its economy and its place in American culture. And one possible reason for this gap may be in the way the two cities treated their gay and lesbian communities.

In this episode, historian La Shonda Mims joins Ben for a discussion about the history of lesbian communities in Atlanta and Charlotte, the ways they shaped and reflected the cities they inhabited, and how tracing the development of lesbian spaces can help us better understand urban history. La Shonda also explains how lesbians’ stories in urban spaces can reveal the greater social and economic realities that women have experienced throughout US history.

Dr. La Shonda Mims is Assistant Professor of History at Middle Tennessee State University. She is author of Drastic Dykes and Accidental Activists: Queer Women in the Urban South (UNC Press, 2022) and recently published a piece entitled “LGBTQ Pride in the South has been Marked by Resistance and Resilience” in The Washington Post’s Made By History.

This episode was edited by Gary Fletcher.

Feb 6, 2023

Jordan Gross played 11 seasons as an Offensive Tackle for the Carolina Panthers. In his rookie season, he was a starting member of the Panthers team that made it to Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004. In his final season (2011) he was selected for his third Pro Bowl. Today he is a farmer in Idaho and one of the happiest people we’ve ever met.

Jordan joins Bob & Ben for a conversation about his career, the way the NFL has changed over the last few decades, what it’s like to play in the Super Bowl, and how his early life in Idaho led him to the NFL and then back again. Jordan also discusses why he decided to walk away from professional football when he was still an All-Pro-quality player, the importance of mentoring and coaching young people, and why continuing to learn is fundamental to a happy life.

You can hear Jordan alongside former teammate Jake Delhomme on their podcast Jordan and Jake, which is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and other podcast apps where you get The Road to Now.

Patrons! You can hear the extended cut of our conversation with Jordan by clicking here. If you’d like to join us just go to Patreon.com/TheRoadToNow for details!

This episode was edited by Gary Fletcher.

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