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Word Warrior: Richard Durham

Horia Varlan
Flickr Creative Commons

A conversation with author Sonja Williams about her biography of journalist and activist Richard Durham

When producer Sonja Williamsbegan researching for the radio series, Black Radio: Telling It Like It Was, she found very little African-American radio drama from the 1940s. What little she found reinforced negative stereotypes.

A colleague eventually suggested she look into Destination Freedom, a series of weekly broadcasts created by journalist and activist Richard Durham that featured African-American leaders and heroes of the day.

Williams became enthralled with Durham’s life and work and eventually wrote a biography of Durham, "Word Warrior: Richard Durham, Radio and Freedom" (University of Illinois Press/2015).

Host Frank Stasio talks with Williams about Durham’s life and career.

She reads at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh on Sunday, September 27, The Regulator in Durham on Monday, September 28 and at the Forum for Scholars and Publics at Duke University on Tuesday, September 29.

Copyright 2015 North Carolina Public Radio

Laura Lee began her journalism career as a producer and booker at NPR. She returned to her native North Carolina to manage The State of Things, a live daily statewide show on WUNC. After working as a managing editor of an education journalism start-up, she became a writer and editor at a national education publication, Edutopia. She then served as the news editor at Carolina Public Press, a statewide investigative newsroom. In 2022, she worked to build collaborative coverage of elections administration and democracy in North Carolina.

Laura received her master’s in journalism from the University of Maryland and her bachelor’s degree in political science and J.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.