Dramatizing Richard Durham’s Life and Activism

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Possibly the best portrayal of one of the roots of the “Black Lives Matter” movement you’ll ever see, takes place on Sunday November 8, 2015,


“LIVE” At The Ebony Repertory Theatre in Los Angeles, California with

Word Up! For Justice: 
The Life of National Radio Hall of Fame Inductee & WORD WARRIOR – Richard Durham


Word Up! for Justice is a 90-minute theatrical presentation of the life and work of Radio Hall of Fame activist writer and producer, Richard Durham. Durham was the first African American writer/producer to create a radio drama series in the 1940s; he wrote and produced a television series in the late 1960s and early 1970s; and he wrote Muhammad Ali’s autobiography, The Greatest.


This one-time presentation of Word Up! for Justice features Durham’s Peabody Award-winning biographer, Sonja Williams and a stellar cast of professional actors on Sunday, November 8th at 3:00PM at L.A.’s Nate Holden Performing Arts Center.

This multimedia production is based on the recently published biography, Word Warrior: Richard Durham, Radio, and Freedom by Sonja Williams. The show ends with a never-before produced controversial script, The Target, written by Durham in the weeks following the 1969 police raid on The Black Panther Party in Chicago.

The Target foreshadows and resonates with today’s Black Lives Matter Movement.

Richard Durham literally turned America’s negative stereotypes of African Americans on its head. During the late 1940s and early 1950s, radio dramas were in vogue and television was in its infancy. The Amos ‘N Andy Show on radio was filled with stereotypic black characters created, written, and voiced by two white actors in black-face. The radio show was popular from the 1920s through the 1950s, and a television adaptation ran on CBS and in syndication from 1951 to 1966. Richard Durham was determined to counteract those negative stereotypes with positive stories and images of African Americans from the rich history and culture so rarely, if ever, depicted.

Durham’s series, Destination Freedom, premiered on June 27, 1948 on Chicago radio WMAQ with more than 90 episodes airing during a two-year run. The scripts were written and produced solely by Richard Durham and featured seldom-told stories of black heroes and heroines. Durham’s way with words was lyrical, realistic, and sometimes provocative.

He went on to write for the Chicago Defender, Muhammad Speaks, and other media outlets and to create the television series, Bird of the Iron Feather in the late 1960s. Richard Durham became a speechwriter for emerging Black political figures like the first Black mayor of Chicago, the Honorable Harold Washington.

Durham’s influence had been buried for 50 years. Now that work has been transformed into the upcoming November 8th live performance: Word Up For Justice! The Life of National Radio Hall of Fame Inductee and WORD WARRIOR – Richard Durham.

TICKETS are available until November 3rd through PAYPAL: PAYPAL ID maisha4wordup@gmail.com .

TICKETS Nov. 4th through Nov. 8th:  at the Ebony Repertory Theatre  or call the box office: (323) 964-9766.

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