October 6, 2016
Dear Sonja Williams,
I just read WORD WARRIOR and I learned so much! I have been really interested in Durham’s work and his distinctive voice because of his work in radio, and wrote about his work and his significance in VISIONS OF BELONGING (Judith E. Smith, 2004) as you know!
The wonderfully generous and collegial J. Fred MacDonald directed me to his own book on Destination Freedom, sent me (then all there was) tapes of a number of the broadcasts, and directed me to interview Clarice Durham, which I did. When Barbara Savage’s book (BROADCASTING FREEDOM: RADIO, WAR, AND THE POLITICS OF RACE, 1938-1948) came out, I grabbed it, and made use of her work, also.
I’ve followed every clue I could find about him in the years since, and was just so thrilled to be able to have your beautifully researched account of his WHOLE LIFE and all his work. I am happily in your debt.
Best from Judith E. Smith
September 30, 2016
Dear Ms. Williams,
Your book “Word Warrior” is fabulous!
Learning about Richard Durham is invaluable. It is so encouraging to learn of his path. Your book on Durham’s life also provided an opportunity to learn about a time period that I experienced as a child/young adult. My father was the first African-American hired at WTTW. I will be asking him about his recollections on “Bird of the Iron Feather” show. I attended the Harold Washington Rally at the Pavilion. It was a truly electric.
I am in awe of your ability to concisely encapsulate situations/time periods. I will be using your book as a textbook!
I noticed that you thanked the Carter G. Woodson Regional Library and the Vivian G. Harsh Collection staff for their assistance. They are truly a jewel. The Library will be closing November 10, 2016 for a major renovation. Researchers were encouraged to try to come in before that time.
Congratulations on your great book.
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