Part Two: the South

Part Two: the South

Civil rights and the race divide

Starting in LA on 10 September, the US08 bus set out to discover what Americans are really talking about, and what the world is saying about their nation. The second part of the journey went from Dallas to Nashville.

Listen Listen to Allan Little's review of Part Two (26 mins 30 secs)

Nashville

Clarksville

St Louis

Poplar Bluff

Memphis

Oxford

Jackson

Vicksburg


Nashville, Tennessee

In Nashville, the home of country music, the second presidential debate took place in a town hall-style meeting.

On the Sunday before, the BBC and PRI hosted their own debate with panel of politicians and academics, taking questions from a live studio audience.

Listen Listen to the BBC-PRI debate (49 mins 21 secs)

On the night of the presidential debate, Steve Evans analysed the political leanings of country music with two songwriters: Democrat Ed Pettersen and Republican Buzz Cason.

Listen Listen to the discussion (10 mins 10 secs)

The second presidential TV debate then took place on the Sunday. In a town hall-style meeting, voters were able to question the candidates directly. The financial crisis and foreign policy dominated the debate:

Listen Listen to the complete presidential debate (2 hours)

Afterwards, Allan Little and Steve Evans gathered reaction to what Barack Obama and John McCain had to say, starting with Republican State Senator Jack Johnson:

Listen Listen to reaction (5 mins 56 secs)

Clarksville, Tennessee

Moving into Tennessee, Allan Little met a woman who makes 'tooth fairy' pillows for the children of military personnel killed in action.

Listen Listen to the story of the tooth fairy pillows (5 mins 20 secs)

St Louis, Missouri

St Louis hosted the debate between the two vice-Presidential candidates, Sarah Palin and Joe Biden.

Allan Little gathered reaction to the debate from outside the hall:

Listen Listen to St Louis residents give their views on Palin v Biden (9 mins 52 secs)


Poplar Bluff, Missouri

On the way to St Louis, the bus stopped at a school in the small town of Poplar Bluff to meet some of the families who have been badly affected by the economic downturn.

Listen Listen to Allan Little in Poplar Bluff (20 mins 44 secs)

With Congress having rejected a proposed bail-out for Wall Street, Allan Little discussed the events with residents of Poplar Bluff - a town that defines Middle America:

Listen Listen to Poplar Bluff residents (3 mins 30 secs)

Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis residents talked about the ongoing turmoil on Wall Street, and the government's "bail-out" plan:

Listen Listen to Memphis residents discussing the Wall Street crisis (1 min 50 secs)

Meanwhile the bus team were escorted around the city in an iconic American vehicle: a 1955 Cadillac.

Listen Listen to Tad Pierson's tour of Memphis (4 mins 16 secs)

Oxford, Mississippi

The team on the bus brought live coverage of the first TV debate between Obama and McCain to a global audience.

The BBC's Jamie Coomarasamy assesses the performance of both candidates:

Listen Listen to highlights from debate (12 mins 17 secs)

Before things kicked off, Allan Little described the mood of anticipation in Oxford:

Listen Listen to Allan Little in Oxford (5 mins 45 secs)

Jackson, Mississippi

Allan Little met James Meredith, the first black student to attend the University of Mississippi.

Listen Listen to James Meredith (5 mins 53 secs)


Vicksburg, Mississippi

On the way to Mississippi's state capital Jackson, Allan Little visited a trailer park on the banks of the state's famous river:

Listen Listen to Allan Little in Vicksburg (4 mins 25 secs)

Meanwhile Claire Bolderson reports on what Barack Obama's candidacy for the Presidency tells us about race in the US:

Listen Listen to Claire Bolderson (8 mins 40 secs)