Freedom's People (1941-1942) was an OTR eight-episode documentary series focused on African-American life, culture, and history. The series was created by Dr. Ambrose Caliver, a specialist in African-American education within the United States Department of Education. The cast included prominent African-American intellectuals, musicians, and actors. Freedom's People is significant because it was the first major radio series to focus on African-American life, culture, and history. Only two episodes are thought to survive from the original eight-part series.
Total Episodes: 8
Surviving Episodes: 2
Episode 01, 21 September 1941, available
Sound file of episode available here
Episode 02, 19 October 1941, not available
Theme: Science and Discovery
Episode 03, 23 November 1941, not available
Episode 04, 21 December 1941, not available
Theme: Military Service
Episode 05, 18 January 1942, not available
Theme:The Negro Worker
Episode 06, 15 February 1942, not available
Theme: The Education of the Negro
Episode 07, 15 March 1942, not available
Theme: Creative Arts
Episode 08, 19 April 1942, available
Theme: The Negro and Christian Democracy
National Broadcasting Company (NBC)
Freedom's People was produced by the Federal Radio Education Committee in the U.S. Department of Education. The series was created by Dr. Ambrose Caliver, a specialist in African-American education, who enlisted a wide variety of African American intellectuals, musicians, and actors, including E. Franklin Frazier, Sterling A. Brown, Joe Louis, A. Philip Randolph, Fats Waller, Jesse Owens, Cab Calloway, Josh White, and Paul Robeson. The series was the first to focus on African-American life, culture, and history.
Destination Freedom and New World A'Coming both followed the lead of Freedom's People by focusing on African-American issues. Destination Freedom (1948-1950), written by Richard Dunham, broadcast on Chicago, Illinois, radio station WMAQ, focused on the struggle of blacks to attain social freedom. "The Death of Aesop" episode (13 February 1949) script available at Generic Radio Workshop website.
New World A'Coming (1944-1947), broadcast on New York radio station WMCA, focused on political and racial issues in the U.S. military and at home.
People episodes at Old Time Radio Researchers Group Library website
Destination Freedom episodes at Old Time Radio Researchers Group Library website
Destination Freedom radio logs at Jerry Haendiges Vintage Radio Logs website
Destination Freedom at American Radio Works website
New World A'Coming episodes at Old Time Radio Researchers Group Library website
New World A'Coming at American Radio Works website