Richard Durham's Destination Freedom: Scripts From Radio's Black Legacy, 1948-50

Overview

The discrimination and stereotyping that black Americans have experienced in the popular arts in the twentieth century is a familiar story to students of popular culture. In literature, music, film, and television the barriers to black characterization and talent created pervasive distortions and stereotypes; yet in no artistic field was the racist pressure against blacks more prevalent than in radio, and into this cultural dimension the least amount of scholarship has been directed. In the light of such ...

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Overview

The discrimination and stereotyping that black Americans have experienced in the popular arts in the twentieth century is a familiar story to students of popular culture. In literature, music, film, and television the barriers to black characterization and talent created pervasive distortions and stereotypes; yet in no artistic field was the racist pressure against blacks more prevalent than in radio, and into this cultural dimension the least amount of scholarship has been directed. In the light of such discriminatory traditions, the appearance in the late 1940s of the program Destination Freedom represents a striking incongruity. Broadcast for over two years over WMAQ, the Chicago affiliate of NBC, Destination Freedom was a provocative half-hour Sunday feature that probed with candor the achievements and careers of eminent blacks. Through dramatic sketches from Afro-American history, the series maturely illustrated the methods by which such black achievers as Sojourner Truth, Lena Horne, Joe Louis and Langston Hughes managed to cope successfully with bigotry in American society. During its run from 1948 to 1950, the one hundred and five scripts produced for the series were the creations of the writer Richard Durham.

To the present day, Richard Durham is considered to be the most significant Afro-American dramatists in broadcasting history, and his achievement is stunning, especially when set against the history of blacks in radio. This volume consists of the fifteen most important Destination Freedom scripts, each introduced with a short history of the subject matter and consideration of the script within DurhaM&Apos;s intellectual world view. This incisive work also includes an introductory chapter by MacDonald, a noted scholar on the history of radio broadcasting, which traces DurhaM&Apos;s professional history, the history of blacks in radio, and the place of Destination Freedom in the current of late 1940s politics. Providing a rare opportunity for greater understanding of this important literary figure, the book will be a valuable resource in black studies, drama, and the history of broadcasting.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275931384
  • Publisher: Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/10/1989
  • Series: Media and Society Series
  • Pages: 280

Meet the Author

J. FRED MACDONALD is Professor of History at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago.

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Table of Contents

Radio Log: Destination Freedom, 1948-1950

Preface

Richard Durham and Destination Freedom

Destination Freedom: Selected Scripts

The Pre-Emancipation Era

Dark Explorers

Citizen Toussaint

Denmark Vesey

Railway to Freedom

The Liberators I: William Lloyd Garrison

The Post-Emancipation Era

The Story of 1875

The Heart of George Cotton

The Long Road

Peace Meditator

Segregation, Incorporated

Black Cultural Themes

The Death of Aesop

Tales of Stackalee

The Trumpet Talks

The Rime of the Ancient Dodger

Premonition of the Panther

Bibliography

Index

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