The Memory Palace

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Episode 88:
Open Road

May 19, 2016

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Music, Footnotes & Ephemera

The Memory Palace is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX.


* Up top, looped, is the first bit of the great, Foreign Fields, by Kacy Hill.
* Then we hear some of Sun Will Set, by Zoe Keating.
* The song on the radio is Sonny Thompson’s Long Gone, as heard on the Mellow Blues album.

* You can read all of the 1948 Green Book (and the rest of the Green Books) at the New York Public Library’s fantastic digital collection.

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7 Comments | Leave a Comment

7 Comments on Open Road

  1. Andrew Appel says:

    So beautifully written. you bring this sad and hopeful piece of Americana to life in such a rich and powerful way. As you always do.

  2. greg says:

    It’s too difficult to find out what an episode is ABOUT. Why not include a summary in with all those music credits? Going to the website and trying to deduce the topic from the pic and keyword tags shouldn’t be necessary.

  3. Firestorm says:

    You should do an episode about ‘THE UNDERGROUND RAILWAY’ which was a way which African American slaves could escape slavery and get to the North to places where they can be safe like Philadelphia and/or Boston

  4. Monica Bafetti says:

    I started the piece with excitement, and after a minute I inwardly sighed. I have heard at least 3 podcasts about the Green Book in the last 6 months or so. Bo-ring!

    I should have known better. Once again, you brought the facts of history to life, and did it in an evocative and beautiful manner. Your ability to paint a vivid scene with words is like nothing I’ve ever heard.

    The end reminds us that the Green Book was not just some cute pre-Yelp rating guide for black Americans. It was a survival guide. They packed enough food to avoid stopping in unsafe towns. They planned their gas station stops so they wouldn’t end up stranded in some backward town where they wouldn’t get served. They had this newfound freedoms with their own automobile, but their freedom, as always, was curtailed in ways large and small.

    Just remarkable work!

  5. Charles C. Fu says:

    I loved this episode. Listening to it made me think of Langston Hughes’ poem “Let America Be America Again” (, which I highly recommend.

  6. Megan says:

    I LOVE how these episode start and end. They bring to life a different time. Don’t change it!
    But, as greg said, the synopsis might be a good idea in the footnote area? I don’t want to tell you how to do your show, because you do such an amazing job, but it’s worth thinking about.

  7. Karen says:

    Yes, another vote for synopses! Would be great to have just a little more info about what each episode is about before listening.