Pleasantly Surprised - Bob Zellner

“Okay Bob, you drive Marlon to the rally and pretend you're ordinary white people.”

Pleasantly Surprised

This episode is available on your local radio station, on PRX and below via The Moth Player. It will be published on  iTunes | Spotify | RadioPublic | RSS on date of upload to podcast feed 8/3/21

This week The Moth Radio Hour is proud to present to you stories full of pleasant surprises. From unexpected friends, to the Civil Rights Movement, and a love story over 60 years in the making. This episode is hosted by Moth Senior Curatorial Producer, Suzanne Rust. The Moth Radio Hour is produced by The Moth and Jay Allison of Atlantic Public Media.

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Stories in this Episode

Harlem Cowboy

by Rudy Rush

Rudy Rush, a comedian from Harlem, cannot buck his love for the rodeo.

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Poitier and Brando, Mississippi, 1964

by Bob Zellner

White southerner Bob Zellner reflects on being an ally during the Civil Rights Movement.

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Lost Love Found

by Cynthia Riggs

After 62 years apart, Cynthia Riggs reconnects with a man from her past.

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Extras From This Episode

Pleasantly Surprised

Rudy Rush

Rudy Rush With His Rodeo Friends

Rudy Rush with one of his friends from the rodeo

Rudy With His Rodeo Friends

Rudy with his rodeo friends

Bob Zellner

Screen Shot 2021 02 08 At 6 35 40 Am 1

Current photo of Bob Zellner


Julian Bond and members of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, Atlanta, Georgia, March 23, 1963. Dottie and Bob Zellner are behind Julian. Susan Wilbur is in the next row over Bob's shoulder. (Photograph: Richard Avedon.)


Bob Zellner's mug shot after being charged with criminal anarchy in Baton Rouge, February 1962 (Bob Zellner, courtesy of sheriff).


Bob and Dottie take a break during Freedom Summer, Greenwood, 1964. (Photos by Danny Lyon/Magnum Photos)


Bob conducting nonviolent workshop with students one night in Talladega, 1962. Joan Browning is to my right. (Wisconsin Historical Society)


Bob, Dottie, and Jack Minnis conducting GROW workshop in New Orleans, 1968 (Wisconsin Historical Society).

Wrong Side Of Murder Creek Cover

Bob Zellner's book The Wrong Side of Murder Creek

Cynthia Riggs

Howard And Cynthia At Their Wedding

Cynthia and Howie at their wedding

Cynthia Getting Into A Biplane Howies Second Anniversary Gift To Cynthia A Ride Around The Vineyard

Cynthia getting into a biplane for a ride around the Vineyard, Howie's second anniversary gift to her

H And C Tender

Cynthia and Howie holding hands

H And C Buddhist Water Pa

Cynthia and Howie durring a Buddhist water blessing

2014 Artisans Fair 2Photo 2 16

Cynthia and Howie at an artisans fair in 2014