|Running time||30 minutes|
|Starring||Oscar Brown Jr., Vernon Jarrett, Janice Kingslow, Fred Pinkard, Studs Terkel, Wezlyn Tilden; also, Tony Parrish, Jack Gibson, Harris Gaines, Louise Pruitt, Arthur Peterson, Norma Ransom, Forrest Lewis, Hope Summers, Boris Apion, Jess Pugh, Ted Liss, Don Gallagher, Harry Elders, Everett Clarke, Jack Lester, Art Hern, Les Spears, Dean Olmquist, Russ Reed|
|Created by||Richard Durham|
|Written by||Richard Durham, Ray Derby, William Hodapp, Bob Ecklund, Madeline Peters, Billie McKee, Bob McKee, Christine Squires, Martin Maloney, Charles Flynn|
|Directed by||Homer Heck, Dick Loughran, Norman Felton, Bob Wambold, John Cowan, Larry Auerbach|
|Produced by||Homer Heck Donnie L Betts|
|Executive producer(s)||Judith Waller|
|Original release||June 27, 1948 –|
November 19, 1951
|Opening theme||"Oh, Freedom"|
|Sponsored by||The Chicago Defender, Chicago Urban League (1950), United Negro College Fund|
Destination Freedom was a series of weekly radio programs which was produced by WMAQ in Chicago. The first set ran from 1948 to 1950 and it presented the biographical histories of prominent African-Americans such as George Washington Carver, Satchel Paige, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, and Lena Horne. The scripts for those shows were written by Richard Durham. Studs Terkel voiced some of the radio characters. Hugh Downs also served as an announcer in both the initial and 1950 series.
The second series of shows ran from 1950 to 1951, and it was produced without Durham. This second series featured patriotic themed dramas which were largely based on Americanism and anti-Communism.
The show was the brainchild of African-American journalist and author Richard Durham. In cooperation with The Chicago Defender, he began this series over NBC Chicago outlet WMAQ in June 1948, with scripts emphasizing the progress of African-Americans from the days of slavery to the ongoing struggle for racial justice. Airing in Sunday-morning public-service time, the series built a steady audience in the Midwest with inspirational stories of social progress, earning strong support from Civil Rights organizations, and offering employment to a wide range of African-American performers. Episodes began with a stanza from the spiritual "Oh, Freedom".
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 he believed that it was tainted with inaccurate and derogatory stereotypes. Week after week, Durham would generate all-out attacks on these stereotypes by illustrating the lives of prominent African-Americans. For two years, Durham wrote script after script for Destination Freedom, receiving no financial compensation for his effort. In 1950, Durham's financial needs forced him to accept an offer by Don Ameche to write material for him. It is also said that Durham's relationship with NBC and WMAQ was not entirely harmonious. Continuing without Durham, the final year of the program turned to general themes of "American freedom," without the sharp focus on the African-American experience. This, WMAQ hoped, would create a show 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 characters voiced by Fred Pinkard, Oscar Brown Jr., Wezlyn Tilden, and Janice Kingslow, were heard once more.
Two early recordings, "A Garage in Gainesville" and "Execution Awaited", are listed in National Recording Registry. In 1949 it received a first-place commendation from the Ohio State University Institute for Education by Radio.
Links for each episode subject are provided
Episodes after the October 1950 relaunch, ending July 1951
Dates may vary depending upon the sources used
Kinzie Blueitt, 1900–1971