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The University of North Carolina presents listen America directed by John Clayton and produced by Johnny Lee for the University of North Carolina communications center Erwin director to do this series we went to 13 of the top authors of this country and I asked them if there was something they would like to say at this time to the radio audiences of America. One of these writers was Paul Green Mr. Green prepared a script for us about a Negro family. So now out of the south comes the study in words and music in speech and emotions. The beat. The EAT EAT YA. The singing of our radio drama is in and around the negro cabin somewhere in the southern part of the United States. It tells a McNeil a young negro washerwoman the old hand that mother is earning clothes for the white folks she works with the away heating your iron at the open
fireplace and bumming it down on the squeaky ironing board as she turns the rough dry garments about her face is sprinkled with drops of sweat and she sings in rhythm to her work now and then she makes a sucking sound with her tongue or tells it suffers a lot from tooth ache. Been there. Oh. Yeah I really do. You know it looked like I never get the films done. Johnson needed to change the law. Yeah. And in the landlord's Theo's near the house tells his three little children are chopping away in the young
cotton stocks and Mr. Johnson walking abroad keeps his eye on his precious crops. Didn't you want. To help sink till then of the mess but then again you're jumping up and goods. Don't let me show you have. Right. Are you going to. Do you think I'm his Johnson. Even unusual. Even so. Well I see you're getting to it. Yes. So we're working right away. Yes yes and that baby there hardly weekend what she doing with the oh she just knows it.
Nana said for her to learn so she could help us. You wouldn't let him. Where is your mother. She's on young girls clothes making all nice and Curtis told her to stay with you children in the fields then babies chopped up a gap in that row because away. Charlie you know better to let her do that. Yes. I reckon you better get out of the fields all of you. Mr. JOHNSON. No no no red brown everyone in my garden like that go along I just quit. You're going to get a switch for ya here we. Go. You tell your mother you're not shopping a couple days with you. Yes yes a week with four days to live on and bold bet to fold down all the time.
Stand up with you. Don't put my feet and. Just sit. He was sent. Which care what's the matter. Look if you break that hole in a house you know to bring bad luck throw it out from the kitchen Hey bring me some soda from the cup but I don't bring my hand on her heart. We can't tell you it is pretty doleful you get pizza Reg often a kid there. I rocked up good make you feel better yet do thank you so that you tell me why you come in the house this time of day. Son still two hours high kill me that whole boy right back in a cotton patch. But Manny missed you Mr Johnson me fade from here Charlie make me a lot 10 your high. Yes yes he he was that guy in fear dance what he he said.
Did you slip in your work that's the reason I done told you in Siena to chop your cotton rows clean. They've dug up some of the big stuff. Well then he say ya to keep up a dozen Ifill's weak jobs on a name of God expect me to get his wife's washing and on and on in here let me get this boat up you pay you for what you know he just didn't get it. We didn't want to treat you like that. We could squash his head in with do with scene. I have faith that you step out that would bring me a bucket of chips at a place about to die down I gotta keep it hot yeah what you doing at that bureau are no threat to them fish unhooked from me I just want to get the spic let you get your fingers on him fishing hooks and it's a joke of a cheap stay or you'll be a net Creek fish and chips.
Get somebody who can't fish or the limit good to create to make smart you know you go into the creek and down she said hear me. You get him chips. Then I want you to take this bag and you on clothes and run cross the road with him to Miss JOHNSON. I don't want to go over there Mr. Jones has made me help that gotta get us something to eat. Last over Sunday. Some having to pay for what you're doing to the. Right. Man. She heard I know. I want you to tell me what you've done for. Me. Yeah I was trying to get some bread from the cupboard and I couldn't find it and she kept away in a safe and there were some in there. And then she found me often clammed up to see for yourself. And she fell and hurt and poor things hungry again. Here's a piece of bread at the back of the cook table. Bring out that you know reckon the
flies that worked it to death. Yes. Take a close right now Manny. What makes France so I didn't know this is his teeth. You want me to put it. Come here pay your mammy. Don't cry No Mo Nim. Can I help you. You want me to and closing you so all right all right now. Sometimes I forget how much I love is you good to me good don't feel bad about me talking
rough to you my head's been just about to kill me and I got to Tara. Now run along for get have me not been to you. We make it somehow things can't go against us for ever. I get to close now and then. All right honey. And I asked Miss Johnson to let you have less side meat and some meoh for supper till after the starch pieces later tonight. Saying that you take Baden go down by the hedge row and pick up some flowers. Them and the glasses done did many Crandell more when me and Cheryl get some money some of these days to happy yet we get to work. Yes we can. Your smog is a bee honey. What I'd do without you to stick by me. Go ahead I'll get back pretty quick. Come on date. We gone see the flowers and see the spare birds happen bad Lord Lord stay with me and my children.
Me. And driving merrily down the road leading to his cabin comes her wondering husband. Well McNeill he is on his way to pay her one of his occasional visits. He's making good old locomotive time now and feeling good as he gives his holler and strums his guitar coming around. She put her clothes. She hugged me.
Charlie. Make it back home. Maybe. Let me manage to all this ruckus about you look like you think you know how many cabbies up the road past I see him coming back to tell you yet. I know we are seeing now he will. Come out of it
was Charlie. You go on across to Johnson's and carry your clothes maybe your pap wants a word with me. Hurry up sonny. Yeah you go on honey. He would hate your mammy and across the road in the landlord's house Mrs. Johnson working pridefully away at the sewing machine making a new dress for her daughter the queen of the May. Who is it.
Yes and she said. Yes she said. Could he have come to this. Thank you. Do you got a kind word.
We're getting along all right here. This is flourishing like a kitchen stove you had here last year I got rid of it. I had to pay baby Dr. Bill with it. They've been sick. What you care about a little sick. She was sick most of the way she had who can call if you can and play him. And he had no money to pay doctor he would. He said he'd take this for payment low down scoundrel to death. You know doctor just to humbug it is worm grease in a snake fat. So for Bernie he no humbug he kill what they call security. She got well anyhow.
So he took at Stover left you to a far place a black thief due back in 0 4. THIS TO ME YOU WOMAN You forgot I helped pay for that stove age. You paid five dollars I paid 15 right now I'm going to have my $5 back to hear me you cough up that dough when you do it hard damn quick. For dollars. I'd seen that much money in six months. That's the truth. Well you better see it for the next six months. That's all I can say. Look here gal Let's forget stove for president will grow by yet nor do I eat are you in it what you expect me to eat. Far colder nations. You must be getting low shore No. I've had nothing but a cup of tea in coffee the whole day. Children didn't have enough to eat that they didn't even know what you gone do for supper. Start over to the big house for some meal and meat. That sounds good. You keep sucking your teeth.
I got a rise in in my jaw. Same old trouble whatever and all Raptor made it bad but I came in quit working and I had busted open and I'd slept none for two nights. If you know what it's like you stand hurted. Here you are you playing no tricks on me by being sick is you. No I reckon you really sort of look forward to spending the night with you know what you want if you can create this right back across the river to your heard the other day if you want a woman to smooth yo far right well I'm going to stay here tonight just to say you do me and my children will sleep out in the fields. Suits me. But anyhow I usually had my way when I stopped by the past. Maybe I'll have it tonight before you lay hands on me this night. I'll stick my butcher knife in you to the Hollow. Carl you sure do get rah rah but it will make Neil I want you to get out and help us get out
poor here well I don't know where this song you gotta put a toe. Take your two hands and break you like a dead cold stock. No you can't scare me. I ain't the woman you married him 12 years ago no longer need the woman you've been coming back to see you whenever you felt the CEPT risin in your home changed and I hate you worse than a snake in the grass. He heard that spiel before. Yeah yeah you have. But I never said it before like that. Like I say it now have suffered and I know I have to get it you know I don't care no more. I know what you're coming back. You want to leave me with another baby sprouting another baby to tend to when people fumble in the pool and cry through the long nights for you rotten with sin and other women. You just go through that door to the four Peachtree back of the house. Go out there dig down two feet in the ground you find in a
shoe box what you left me with the last time. A little teeny pitiful. Little black face like a sweet but cold beer but the Black Rose and it in go has never happened again so help me God. You have had it sort of ha ha and you killed all the hot head in me. Me and my children don't know your name no more and I want you to get out of this place. Get up in my house get go get me off daddy's invited myself to supper and I'm going to keep you just one minute TAKE IT degree but I watch it hard and are summarized this. Hole in Ms Johnson. I want to watch abyss. You mean that you could be skittish.
You going to hurt you. I've got some mail. You must just have a little sick spare what I hear. She's done but white woman's fun dress should be a minute. What's done is done. I'm get ready make some good music. You know no one none of your music nobody can stand out against good music you know. The children like it. You like it don't you. I guess you know all right. That's a good boy. I put the stuff on the table Manny. And then come here. I got something for you. Yeah. What do you think I do. Barlow Now you meet him. I mean I brung you. Oh yeah. So you did a good long sharp blade be a fun thing to clean and catfish you catches in the creek. Oh that's right. Some service to me in times past has grown up be a great big boy.
You ought to have enough. Oh and I can pay most of the big wooden stick here boy. He's trying to hide away from me. OK. Two blades open quit should quit. And that's a mess. A look at the. Pretty flowers big guy. Pretty pretty as can be put in the glass. There was more heat that nice as can be. Your children bring in your medicine flowers. They come all the way here babies come speak to you Pat. So you are playing with this fine big night for the floor. I got some for you too. See you there. Stop by that big yellow pad on the bottom and sweet. Good. Rosen was just poor and I got a big piece of peace for both of you to chew you away. It's good for your teeth too. Is it good. Oh yes good Pappy babe Jews
like ole. No not for me to sing a song. Yeah yeah we would be done here. Yeah yeah. One day I'll get around to get around all cults about this and they are saying make me pick a lamb down. John Henry was a little baby. He gave one says and will be the death of me and will be the day. Me John Henry hammered in the Mount Hermon to this hammock. He said beat this steel drill on down I'll beat it beat it all down.
How did John has a. Thing on. Well John Henry Little Woman pretty Jess she wore was blue and the loving words that he said to her man was you was at the way for a good woman. Well John Henry hammered in the time it seemed like going north quite on the ground but said no nobody go wait totally It's only John Henry turning round No no I would only turn on and turn it around and cook this up but now it's just you know cornbread inside. Read me the mission. Well John Henry had promised the Charlotte thing.
He kissed her lips and wiped the tears away says Honey I'm your love in Menlo and nobody says honey and you will know. And will. MacNeill goes on the singing to his entranced children about the mighty steel driving man John Henry and his loving wife Pollyanna as he waits for his good supper and a night of pleasure to follow. For the past half hour you've been listening to a program written by Paul Greene to comment on his play.
Here is Mr. Green. The blinding poverty of Neo is a thing that ought not to be in this land of technology and opportunity. And no one can say she didn't work hard enough to deserve a better life as is shown in this little play she did. And but that life never came and her roving unstable husband widow McNeil was not the cause entirely of her distrait condition though partially so and all her hair asked the landlord Mr. JOHNSON. Even if we were McNeil had been the best of husbands aren't working and devoted rather than the loose guitar player and chaser of other women that he was. Still poverty would have continued to be killed says a lot and a lot I will also add poverty and child procreation and bearing and frustration of soul. There is another reason for this big Trejo of that individual
personality. A devastating reason and that reason lies in the social system itself. A system that still continues in too many states below the Mason-Dixon line continues in the face of Christian teachings and professions continues in spite of an obvious sociology and clear science of human behavior. A system based on folk inheritance on plain human Slough an orneriness. If you will. In my own beloved state of North Carolina since its first settling in the latter part of the 17th century and nearly three hundred years ago. I estimate some ten millions of tilts of MacNeill's race Negroes have lived and died. And out of that number who could make even a brief roll call of shining ones who have developed their full capabilities. No great Negro scientists poets composers philosophers doctors
physicists novelist engineers agriculturalists botanist lawyers architects educators manufacturers bankers. Ten million souls. Tragedy tragedy. Is it because the negroes are by race inferior in their hearts and minds and abilities. Of course not they are a great and gifted people our people us. They have had no proper chance. They've been kept down handed suppressed. And even now in these days a word revolution and release of human aspirations elsewhere in Asia in Africa in the Middle East the political leaders in my own state and in most of the Southern states are still determined to keep the niggers in what they call that place. The real wealth of a state or a nation lies in the talents of his people. All of the people or at least they and these talents encourage them to
grow rather than trying to stifle them. And if we did so then this south of ours would be not the poorest section in the nation as it is today but perhaps the richest richest in all the good things of life. Peter used to seem like Neo cries out along with millions of others of her race cries out in this land of Thomas Jefferson. Let my people go. The series is listen America directed by John Clayton and produced by Johnny Lee for the University of North Carolina communications center Erwin director. The series is produced on a grant in aid from the National Association of educational broadcasters made possible by the Educational Television and Radio Center featured in Mr. Green's program where Marian FITZSIMMONS And Len Bullock choral music was provided by the colored choir of the First Baptist Church of Chapel Hill. Guitar by John Parker Jr.. Listen America is recorded in the studios of the department of radio television and motion pictures on the campus of Chapel Hill.
The preceding program was made available to this day by the National Association of educational broadcasters. This is the end AB Radio Network.
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Listen America
Paul Green
Producing Organization
University of North Carolina
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program features a script by Paul Green about an African-American family in the South.
Series Description
A series of 13 programs featuring the works of selected contemporary American authors.
Broadcast Date
Media type
Actor: Fitzsimmons, Marian
Actor: Bullock, Len
Director: Clayton, John S.
Performer: Parker, John, Jr.
Producer: Ehle, John, 1925-
Producing Organization: University of North Carolina
Speaker: Kuralt, Charles, 1934-1997
Writer: Green, Paul, 1894-1981
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 56-50-2 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:08
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Chicago: “Listen America; Paul Green,” 1956-07-30, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 21, 2024,
MLA: “Listen America; Paul Green.” 1956-07-30. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 21, 2024. <>.
APA: Listen America; Paul Green. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from