Power, Politics, & Pride: Durham's Destination Freedom

Cast of Destination Freedom

Destination Freedom cast

Power, Politics, & Pride: Durham's Destination Freedom

Destination Freedom was a groundbreaking weekly, half-hour radio drama that highlighted the accomplishments of noteworthy African Americans. The series premiered on NBC/WMAQ January 27, 1948, and ran for two years. The 91 original episodes were written solely by African American dramatist Richard Durham.

Richard Durham

Richard Durham was an insightful and prolific writer who championed equality, understanding and racial dignity in his work.

Durham's scripts were stirring appeals for racial equality and freedom. During a time when little was written on black history, Durham would meticulously research the events and people in each episode to bring historical truth to light. Characters were written to cut across the pervasive stereotypes in popular culture that portrayed African Americans as clowns, menials or slackers. In contrast, Durham's historical characters were given complex personalities that were "rebellious, biting, scornful, angry, and cocky, as the occasion calls for."

Destination Freedom received financial support for its first 13 broadcasts from the Chicago Defender. The Urban League of Chicago sponsored several broadcasts in the early 1950s. The efforts of Durham and the series' nearly all black cast were recognized by various local and statewide organizations as making a significant contribution toward the American ideal of Democracy.

An audio excerpt from Destination Freedom: Ida B. Wells.

Destination Freedom Studio

Destination Freedom radio studio at NBC, Chicago

Louise Pruitt

Louise Pruitt

Source: Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection of Afro-American History and Literature

Cast member Louise Pruitt

Janice Kingslow

Janice Kingslow

Source: Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection of Afro-American History and Literature

Cast member Janice Kingslow

Oscar Brown, Jr

Oscar Brown, Jr

Source: Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection of Afro-American History and Literature

Cast member Oscar brown, Jr.

Homer Heck

Homer Heck

Cast member Homer Heck

Fred Pinkard

Fred Pinkard ASD

Source: Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection of Afro-American History and Literature

Cast member Fred Pinkard, (left)

Sound Tech

NBC studio sound effects technician

Source: Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection of Afro-American History and Literature

NBC studio sound effects technician

Destination Freedom Poster

Destination Freedom Poster

Source: Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection of Afro-American History and Literature

A poster advertising Destination Freedom on Sunday mornings.