Richard Durham's Destination Freedom: Scripts From Radio's Black Legacy, 1948-50by J. Fred MacDonald
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… See more details below
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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