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Listen to the land the profile of a nation in terms of its living language. I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands. These familiar words might well serve as the key to this week's program which is subtitled sweet land of liberty. By sharing aloud our country's writings past and present. We can come to a fuller appreciation of those things which are meaningful to us as Americans. Listen to the land is produced by station w h y y Philadelphia under a grant from the National Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. Now here is your host and narrator Richard S. Burdick My country tis of thee sweet land of liberty of the same land where my fathers died land of the pilgrim's pride from every mountainside let freedom ring.
My native country the land of the noble free thy name I LOVE I LOVE THY rocks and rills my woods and Temple Hills my heart with rapture thrills like that above. But music swelled the breeze and ring from all the trees sweet freedom's song let mortal tongues awake let all that breathe partake let rocks their silence break the sound prolong our fathers God to Thee author of liberty to thee we sing Long May our land be bright with freedom's Holy Light protect us by I might great God our king. A long is it since you really listened to the words of that grand old song. America is an appropriate selection to lead off a program titled sweet land of liberty.
An excerpt from Rain Tree county should underscore the proper mood Braintree County was written by the late Ross Lockridge Jr. and published by hope and company. It's a vast compelling novel brilliantly written eminently worth reading. I suggest you see for yourself if you haven't already read it. This particular passage is subtitled The old time forth and you'll see why as we go along. Picture yourself in the park of a small Indiana town a few years before the turn of the century. Gathered for the annual Fourth of July ceremonies. One of the highlights of the year. Lovers strolling in hand. Youngsters leaping and running dogs running and barking. And the back. Ah. The back. Mr Shaughnessy consulted his copy of the program following the bank with the space before the
platform had been cleared of tables and filled up with benches and chairs. Promptly at 2:30 with several hundred people in attendance many of them standing on in the road. The grand patriotic program had begun. Mr Shaughnessy who is Mr. Brown had been mainly responsible for arranging a program sat in a back room with Professor Stiles. The Rev. jarvey had at last appeared looking a little tired. The opening on Thurman the prayer had gone off well and now General Jackson who had shouted himself hoarse in a short banquet address was thundering through the opening bars of the Declaration of Independence. I don't the call should hear him on the bench. It becomes necessary for one people dissolve the political barons would you have connected them with another. I do assume the powers of the earth the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle. I do you should respect the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which
impel them to the separation from these words the professor whispered. The origin of firecrackers. Well old age truths to be self-evident. Not all over are not created equal. But they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life Liberty and the pursuit of happiness. From these words the Republic from these words Raintree County. A rectangular dream. That to secure these rights Governments are instituted among Men deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends it is the right of the People to alter or to abolish it. I do institute a new government. From these words cannons and cock Cade's constitutions and Congresses
from these words the courthouse in the courthouse square the clock in the steeple telling the time of day and the flag of many stripes from these words the granite lady with the scales over the courthouse door and the spittoons in the courtroom on the second floor. In these words the enormous geometry of railroads that pass in the night day and night making banners of gray smoke on the land. From these words the men swarm of New York Chicago San Francisco from these words the march of states across the nation and musical procession New Jersey Pennsylvania Ohio Indiana Illinois Kansas Colorado Utah Nevada California. From these words Main Street the post office on the corner the general store the barber shop the schoolhouse the church where the steeple holding a bell in these words the plain board houses in the tidy lawns. The old plantation home the mansard roofs the tenement houses hung with washing a farmhouse and the great red barn.
From these words an infinitude of sounds vibrations of wire whistles at crossings rock and jostle of strings of cars crossing the lonely primaries where the buffaloes stand and gaze roar of the churning and changeable machines voice of great cities assaulting a summer night with prayers oaths death cries songs where their father are the representatives of the United States of America in General Congress Assembled appealing to the Supremes judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions do in the name and by the authority of the good people of these Colonies solemnly publish and declare that the United Colonies are never right ought to be free and independent states. And these words statues in the square for the boys who fell at Lexington to put the pack in Chickamauga and the support of this
Declaration with reliance on the protection of divine Providence we mutually pledge to each other our Lives our Fortunes and our sacred Honor. From these words the place called America and the people called Americans from these words the brooding and gaunt form of Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg from these words tumult of many wars old wars and half forgotten unceasing dedications and re dedications the earth of Raintree County covered with corn and wheat was the image of peace and plenty in the anniversary sunlight and on the platform misses of a line of Brown raised her arms to lead the opening bars of the song. Yes we'll rally around the flag boys we'll rally once again shouting the battle cry of freedom. We will rally from the hillside we'll gather from the plain shouting the battle cry of freedom the union forever
boys. Down with the traitor up with the star while they rally round the flag boys rally once again shouting the battle cry of freedom. A chill went up Mr Shaughnessy spine. He perceptibly straightened his back and squared his shoulders hoping that the professor hadn't observed he was lifted on a wave forward and upward. Memory carried him on the feet of trampling thousands the union forever beautiful on analyzable concept. Forward comrades let us push forward up the slope. Let us carry the banners of freedom to the summit. Oh let us be in the vanguard of history anonymous and fearless comrades a hundred hands will BARRISTER The crest young man my comrades we shall all behold a far side of the mountain and resplendent weather white roads of peace and blossoming summer. But first good heart comrades a deep breath a long shout and
the union forever. Ah boys. And that was an excerpt from Raintree County by the late Ross Lockridge Jr. on April 19th 1836 in Concord Mass. The poem was a song commemorating the opening of the American Revolution. The poem was written by Ralph Waldo Emerson and called it conquered him by the rude bridge that arched the flood their flag to Aprils breeze unfurled here once the embattled farmers stood and fired the shot heard round the world.
The long sense and silence slept like the Conqueror silent sleeps and time the ruined bridges swept down the dark stream which seaward creeps on this green bank by this soft stream. We set today a votive stone that memory may their dead redeem when like our sires our sons are gone. Probably there are a few adult Americans who are not familiar with the name of Booker T Washington famous negro scholar and educator. He was also a brilliant writer and speaker and these two talents affected a wedding in an address he delivered at Harvard University on the occasion of his receiving an honorary degree from that institution.
This is a beautiful piece of writing one that I think will live as long as Americans cherish freedom and forward thinking. And it's particularly apropos today. The American standard by Booker T Washington. Mr. President and gentlemen it would in some measure relieve my embarrassment if I could even a slight degree feel myself worthy of the great honor which you do me today. Why you have called me from the Black Belt of the solace from among my humble people to share in the honors of this occasion. It is not for me to explain. And yet it may not be inappropriate for me to suggest that it seems to me that one of the most vital questions that touch our American life is how to bring the strong wealthy and learned into helpful touch with the poorest most ignorant and humble and at the same time make the one
appreciate the vitalizing strengthening influence of the other. How shall we make the mansions on yon Beacon Street feel and see the need of the spirits in the lowliest cabin and Alabama cotton fields or Louisiana sugar bottoms. This problem Harvard University is solving not by bringing itself down but by bringing the masses up. If through me a humble representative seven millions of my people in the solve might be permitted to send a message to Harvard Harvard that offered up on Death's altar young Shaw and Russell and Lowell and scores of others that we might have a free and united country. That message would be tell them what the sacrifice was not in vain. Tell them that by the way of the shop the field the skilled hand habits of thrift and economy by way of industrial school and college.
We are coming. We are crawling up working up the a bursting up even through oppression unjust discrimination and prejudice. But through them we are coming up and with proper habits intelligence and property. There is no power on earth that can permanently stay our progress. If my life in the past has meant anything in the lifting up of my people and the bringing about of better relations between your race and mine I assure you from this day it will mean doubly more in the economy of God. There is but one standard by which an individual can succeed. There is but one. For a race this country demands that every race measure itself by the American standard by it a race must rise or fall succeed or fail.
And in the last analysis mere sentiment counts for little during the next half century and more. My race must continue passing through the severe American Crucible. We are to be tested in our patience our forbearance our perseverance our power to endure wrong to withstand temptations to economize to acquire and use skill our ability to compete to succeed in commerce. To disregard the superficial for the real. The appearance for the substance to be great and yet small learned and yet simple high and yet the servant of all this. This is the passport to all that is best in the life of our republic and the Negro must possess it or be disbarred. While we are thus being tested I beg of you to remember that wherever our life touches
yours we help or hinder wherever your life touches ours. You make us stronger or weaker. No member of your race in any part of our country can harm the meanest member of mine without the proudest and bluest blood in Massachusetts being degraded. When Mississippi commits crime New England commits crime and in so much lowers the standard of your civilization. There is no escape. Man drags man down man lifts man up in working out our destiny while the main burden and center of activity must be with us. We shall need in a large measure in the years that have come as we have in the past to help the encouragement the guidance of the strong can give the weak. Thus helped we of both races in the south. Soon she'll throw off the shackles of racial and sectional prejudices and rise as Harvard University has risen. And as we all
should rise above the clouds of ignorance narrowness and selfishness into that atmosphere that pure sunshine where it will be our highest ambition To Serve Man our brother regardless of race or previous condition. I would like to suggest I had thought of saying this but not having read it. But you make a point of going to your librarian getting a copy of that speech by Booker T Washington the American Standard and reading it for yourselves. In 1917 William Tyler page of clerk of the United States House of Representatives wrote a statement with which he called an American screed. It was accepted by the House approved by President Woodrow Wilson in 1918 as follows. I believe in the United
States of America as a government of the people by the people for the people who is just powers are derived from the consent of the governed. A democracy in a republic a sovereign nation of many sovereign states. A perfect union one and inseparable established upon those principles of freedom equality justice and humanity. But what you American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes. I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it to support its constitution to obey its laws to respect its flag and to defend it against all enemies. I recently read an article on artistic integrity in which the writer described a flight in an airplane over the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor and his observation that the top of Miss
Liberty's head had been as carefully executed by the sculptor as the rest of her sculpted body. That is to say the quest for you or was meticulously arranged the entire effect spoke of great care and precise attention to detail. And yet you see the statue had been executed before the age of flight. And there was no reason to assume on the sculptor's part that anyone would ever see the top of this Liberty's head and yet his integrity had made compromise impossible. The same kind of integrity went into the composition of the verse by Emma Lazarus which serves as the inscription at the base of the Statue of Liberty. I can still remember that unexpected thrill. Just a few years ago when I experienced for the first time after many years of
sailing past or flying over the Statue of Liberty the thrill that I experience when I visited it finally with my family protecting my children and read for myself these words. Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame with conquering limbs astride from land to land here at our sea washed sunset Gates will stand a mighty woman with a torch whose flame is the imprisoned like Ning and her name mother of exiles from her beacon hand goes worldwide welcome her mild eyes come and the air bridge harbor the Twin Cities frame. Keep ancient lands your storied Pomp cries she with silent lips. Give me your tired your poor your huddled masses yearning to breathe free the wretched
refuse of your teeming shore Send these the homeless tempest tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door. Did you ever try to put into words why you like living in America. Many of us feel the reasons instinctively but you'd go a long way to find a better presentation of the reasons than that offered by a high school girl at least in 1904 she was a high school girl maybe a very attractive young lady now listening to this program this week. Her name was Elizabeth Ellen Evans and in 1954 she won the I speak for America. I speak for democracy contest which is a nationwide annual contest as you know. And here is her winning essay I speak for democracy. I am an American. Listen to my words fascist
communist. Listen well for my country is a strong country and my message a strong message. I am an American and I speak for democracy. My ancestors have left their blood on the green at Lexington and the snow at Valley Forge on the walls of Fort Sumter in the fields of Gettysburg on the waters of the river Marne and in the shadows of the Argonne Forest on the beach edge of Salerno in Normandy and the sands of Okinawa on the bare bleak hills called pork chop and Old Baldy in Heartbreak Ridge a million and more of my countrymen have died for freedom. My country is their eternal monument. They live on in the laughter of a small boy as he watches a circus clowns antics and in the sweet delicious coldness of the first bite of peppermint ice cream on the Fourth of July in the little tenseness of a baseball crowd as the umpire calls batter up.
In the high school bands rendition of Stars and Stripes Forever in the Memorial Day parade in the clear sharp ring of a school bell and a fall morning and in the triumph of a six year old as he reads aloud for the first time they live on in the eyes of an Ohio farmer surveying his acres of corn and potatoes and pasture in the brilliant gold of hundreds of acres of wheat stretching across the flat miles of Kansas in the milling of cattle in the stockyards of Chicago. The precision of an assembly line in an automobile factory in Detroit and the perpetual red glow of the nocturnal skylines of Pittsburgh and Birmingham and Gary they live on in the voice of a young Jewish boy saying the sacred words from the Torah hear always Ryo the Lord our God the Lord is One. Now shalt love the Lord our God with all thy heart with all thy soul and with all thy might. And in the voice of a Catholic girl praying Hail Mary full of grace
the Lord is with me in the voice of a Protestant voice singing A Mighty Fortress is our God a bulwark never failing. An American named Carl Sandburg wrote these words. I know a jewfish Cryer down on Maxwell Street with a voice like a north wind blowing over corn stubble in January. He dangles herring before prospective customers even sing a joy identical with that of Pav Rova dancing. His face is that of a man terribly glad to be selling fish terribly glad that God made fish and customers to whom he may call his wares from a pushcart. There is a voice in the soul of every human being that cries out to be free. America has answered that voice. America has offered freedom and opportunity such as no land
before her as ever known to a Jew Fish prior down on Maxwell Street with the face of a man terribly glad to be selling fish. She has given him the right to own his own push cart to sell his herring on Maxwell Street. She has given him an education for his children and a tremendous faith in the nation that has made these things his multiply that fish Cryer by one hundred and sixty million one hundred sixty million mechanics and farmers and housewives and coal miners and truck drivers and chemists and lawyers and plumbers and priests all glad terribly glad to be what they are. Terribly glad to be free to work and eat and sleep and speak and love and pray and live as they desire as they believe. And those 100 and 60 million Americans those 160 million free Americans have more roast beef and mashed potatoes. The yield of American labor in land more automobiles and telephones more safety razors and
bathtubs more are on sweaters and Oreo myson the fruits of American initiative and enterprise. More public schools and life insurance policies. The symbols of American security and faith in the future. More laughter and song than any other people on earth. So this is my answer. Fascist Communist. Show me a country greater than our country. Show me a people more energetic creative progressive bigger hearted and happier than our people. Not until then well I consider your way of life for I am an American and I speak for democracy. Well Elizabeth Ellen Evans you spoke most eloquently in conclusion some timeless words from Walt Whitman entitled liberty will be served. A message of meaning that should overlay your reading of tomorrow's headlines.
Courage my brother or my sister. Keep on liberty is to be subservient whatever occurs. That is nothing that is quelled by one or two failures or any number of failures or by the indifference or ingratitude of the people or by any unfaithfulness or the show of touches of power. Soldiers can and penal statutes. What we believe in. Waits for ever through all the continents invites no one promises nothing sits in calmness and light is positive and composed knows no discouragement waiting patiently waiting its time. When liberty goes out of a place it is not the first to go. Now the second or the third to go. It waits for all the rest to go. It is the last when there are no more memories of the heroes and martyrs. And when all life and all the souls of men and women are discharged from any part of the earth then only show liberty or the idea of liberty be discharged from that part of the earth and the infidel come into final
possession. Sweet Land of Liberty. Yours and mine. And an evocative way to listen to the land. Our guides and interpreters with Samuel Francis Smith Ross Lockridge Jr. Ralph Waldo Emerson Booker T Washington William Tyler page Emma Lazarus Elizabeth Ellen Evans and Walt Whitman. Next week we're going to continue within the framework of the same thing but with a considerably different slant. With a program called barracks battlefields unberth writes I hope you plan to join me at that time. Until then this is Dick verdicts and thanks for listening and so long. Listen to the line was produced and recorded at station W.H. y y Philadelphia under a grant from the National Educational Television and Radio Center and is being distributed by the National Association of educational broadcasters. This is James Keeler inviting you to be with us next week for the program barracks battlefields on birthrights on listen to the land with Richard
S. Burdick. This in the NE the radio network. The old. The old.
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Listen to the land
Sweet land of liberty
Producing Organization
WHYY (Radio station : Philadelphia, Pa.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/500-7s7hv63w).
Episode Description
This program focuses on writings about America.
Series Description
America's literary heritage is explored through readings of short stories, poems, folklore, journalism and legends. The series is narrated by Richard S. Burdick.
Broadcast Date
Media type
Announcer: Keeler, James
Host: Burdick, Richard S.
Producing Organization: WHYY (Radio station : Philadelphia, Pa.)
Writer: Page, Frances Eleanor
Writer: Voegeli, Don
Writer: Eitzen, Lee
Writer: Lockridge, Ross, 1914-1948
Writer: Emerson, Ralph Waldo, 1803-1882
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 60-54-13 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:42
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Chicago: “Listen to the land; Sweet land of liberty,” 1960-11-17, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed April 25, 2024,
MLA: “Listen to the land; Sweet land of liberty.” 1960-11-17. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. April 25, 2024. <>.
APA: Listen to the land; Sweet land of liberty. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from