African-American Civil rights dramatic anthology (1948-1950)
The triumph of African-American civil
rights can be attributed to many heroes and heroines
of the past. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Satchel Paige,
Roscoe Dungee, Dr. Ralph Bunche, Malcolm X, Frederick Douglas, W.E.B. DuBois, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, and Lena Horne were all major proponents
of this movement, but some never think about Richard
Durham. Durham's creation put a foothold on Civil rights
and paved the way for equality.
Richard Durham's Destination Freedom
premiered on June 27, 1948 on Chicago radio WMAQ. Durham's
vision was to reeducate the masses on the image of African American
society, since it was tainted with stereotypes that
threatened to tear its beautiful culture apart. The
danger was so imminent, that many White Supremacy groups
protested, such as the White Knights of Columbus. Week
after week, Durham would generate all-out attacks on
southern bias, the Ku Klux Klan, on the attitudes of
rednecks and the mentality of the mob. For two straight
years, Durham wrote script after script for Destination
Freedom and asked for nothing in return. In 1950,
Durham's financial needs exceeded his push for equality,
so he opted to accept an offer by Don Ameche to write
a vehicle for him. After Durham left, the station quickly
changed the shows premise to a white show, in order
to rival Paul Revere Speaks, which was a popular show
at the time. For about 50 years, the show was long forgotten
until some transcripts were found, and the voices of
freedom, played by Fred Pinkard, Oscar Brown Jr., Wezlyn
Tilden, and Janice Kingslow, were heard once more.
For additional radio shows covering African-American civil rights, see also: Roi Ottley's A New Worlds A-Coming and Freedom's People. See also Jubilee which was created to entertain the black soldiers in WWII.
For more interesting reading, see also: article on the history of Minstrel Shows and Old Time Radio.
For more American historical drama, see also: American Adventure, An
American in England, American Trail, Cavalcade of America, Democracy in America, The Free Company, Frontier Fighters, Inheritance, Norman Corwin Collection, Mr President, Science
Magazine of the Air, You Are There, and The American History Collection.