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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. We told them that of course there would be no censorship from the University of North Carolina that they could select any theme. It could be a big one or every day as they chose and they could write it up as they wanted to play a dialogue talk. One of these writers was Carl Sandburg and he agreed to do this and came to Chapel Hill here on the campus sat down at a table in the study of a friend's home spread some books out before him and said he was ready to do his program that he would do it himself. Right then he would talk to the American people. So now the University of North Carolina presents Mr. Sandberg and what he said from the story of my life as a boy.
Always the young strangers. Often in the 1890s I would get to thinking about what a young prairie town Galesburg Illinois was. Nearly 20000 people and they had all come in 50 years. Before that it was empty rolling prairie. And I would ask why did they come. Why couldn't they get along where they had started from. Did I know America the United States because of what I knew about Gail's. And I ask what is this America. I am a part of where I will soon be a full citizen and a vote for all of us are living under the American flag the Stars and Stripes. What does that mean. Men have died for it. Why when they say this is a free country they mean free for want and free for whom and what is freedom. I said I would listen and read
and ask and maybe I would learn by guessing and hoping and reaching out I might get a hold on some of the answers. Those questions in those words may not have run through my mind yet they ran in my blood dark untangled they were done in my bed for many years. To some of the questions I would across the years get only half answers. Mystery answers and I will do my best to delivering some of those half and inserts some of those mystery answers here. A father sees a son nearing manhood. What shall he told that son. Life is hard. Beast will be Iraq. And this might stand him for the storms and serve
him for a home grown men in need and guide him amid sudden betrayals and tighten him for slack moments. Life is a soft law. Go easy and this too might serve him brutes have been gentle lashes. The growth of a frail flower in a path has sometimes been split Iraq tough Will Counts. So does design. So does a rich saw war without a rich wrong doing nothing. Tell him too much money has killed men and left them dead years before
burial. The quest for cash and Barnes beyond a few easy needs has twisted good enough men and sometimes into the drive. So war or it's telling him as a star can be wasted. Tell him to be off every so often and I have no I have no shame over ever having been a fool yet learning something out of every folly hoping to repeat none of the cheap follies. Thus arriving at the intimate understanding of a world numbering man fools tell him to be alone often and get asked himself. And above all tell himself no lies about himself.
Whatever the white liars and protective fronts he may use amongst other people. Tell him solitude is creative. If he is strong and the final decisions are made in silent rooms tell him to be different from other people if it comes natural and easy being different. Let him have lazy days seeking his deeper motives. Let him seek deep for where he was a born natural. Then he may understand Shakespeare and the Wright brothers. Pastor Michael Faraday and free imaginations bringing changes into wayward resenting
change. You will be lonely I know I have time for the work. You know as his own. What should I say when it is better to say nothing what is said is said or no sponge can wipe it out. Ask your young people they know everything. Have you noticed pink flowers give no smell. A woman and a melon are not to be known by their sides. The handsomest woman can give only what she has. No matter how important you are you may get a wash your dog comb a dog.
Apes may put on funny honoree but they are still heaps. He was made of honey will be eaten to death by flies. Wedlock is a peddler. Take a good look at the mother before getting tied up with the daughter. Let a mother be ever so bad she wishes her daughter to be. The man hardly ever marries the woman he jokes about. She often marries the man she laughs at. Keep your eyes open before marriage half shut afterward. Your wife is not a guitar you hang on the wall after playing it. I wouldn't bet a million dollars for this baby and I wouldn't give ten cents for another.
A mosaic of Proverbs from the people yes we will see what we will see. Time is a great teacher. Today me and tomorrow maybe you diss all the people us laughs at many broken hammers. What is bitter to stand against today may be sweet to remember tomorrow. Whether the stone bumps the judge or the judge bumps the story in its for the joke one hand washes the other in both wash the face. Better leave the child's nose snotty then to a wring it off. We all belong to the same big family and have the same smell
handling the tar or done some of it sticks to the fingers. Tell our year comes to believe his own words. He who burdens himself must sit on the blisters. God alone understands us that mother understands that child to work hard to live hard to die and then go to hell after all who would be to have a heart. It takes all kinds of people to make a world. What is bred in the bone will tell between the inbred Santa crossbreeds the argument goes on.
You can beat him up as easy as you can beat him down said one of them. I don't know who all my ancestors were but we've been d sending for a long time. When the Cherokee blooded Oklahoman oil Rogers said my students didn't come over in the Mayflower but we was there to meet the boat. You're either a thoroughbred a scribe or an in-between. Always some dark horse never heard of the forest coming under the wire a winner said are the Greek your birth puts beneath me. If a crazed Greek replying. The difference between us is this. My family begins with me. Yours is with you.
Why did the children pour molasses on the cat when no one told the children they must not do for molasses on the cat. Why did the children put beans in their ears. When the one thing we told the children they must not do was put beans in their ears. A piece printed in the Chicago Times a few days after the date of August 6 1945 when the word Hiroshima came to have high significance. This is titled Mr tele.
As you know made a name for himself as a destroyer of life. Mr. Tyler they made a mess of you profess you of the gentle voice. The books the specs the Furt rabbit manners in the mortar board cap and the media evil god. They didn't think it was Professor on account of you were so absent minded you bumping into the trees and saying Excuse me I thought you were a tree passing on again blank and absent minded it Mester. To your door to your pear wallops of death
are you. The practical and Amec never again have you come through with a few abstractions is it you Mr after Lo here is saying I beg your pardon but we believe we have made some degree of progress on the residual qualities of the atom. And my footnote to that at the present time would be. That the figure of Mars now is embodied in that of the professor. The only time across the century is made himself look terrible look as though he carried powers of destruction epaulets metals.
It came later to be called fruit salad on his uniform coat. Now I was a man of war are is the choir and many of the laboratories are not of the man who does not look the part. And yet he has it. It was his mind he Grupo his mind was tired of laying out their abstractions and their equally Sheens that finally evolved weapons of a kind that when the two powers that have a in the highest possession today as they look at each other they are not sure about what war between them would mean mutual destruction.
Across the centuries there have been armament races before this. There have been two nations that faced each other with a deadly hate while they sought new weapons and new methods of war. And historians that I have asked about it tell me there was never a case of an armament race of that sort. Back across the pass. But eventually they came to their war. And then most often it was victory on one side and destruction for the earth and for the first time in history to Great us face each other with their weapons capacity to each
destroy it's a little harder to predict the future now. When was the case with former nations. You know an armament race. Part of the prologue to that remarkable exhibition created by Edward Steichen. This is part of the prologue that I struggled to write and I hope it has some degree of adequacy. The first cry of a newborn baby human she called or saying in Amsterdam has the same pitch key.
Each saying iin my head comes through. I am a member of the family. Here is a seizing of saints and sinners winners or losers in a womb of superstition genius crime sacrifice. Here is the PEA the one and only source of armies navies working the living flowing breath of the history of nations are lighted by the reality or illusion of the whole. Everywhere is a love and love making weddings and babies from generation to generation keeping the family of the man alive and continuing every where the sun moon and stars the climate center Weathers has meanings where people. Know meanings vary. We are alike in all countries and tribes in trying to read
what Sky land and sea say to us. Like and over like we are on all continents in the need of love. Food clothing work speech worship. Sleep games dancing fun. From tropics to art to humanity lives with these needs a soul a like saw inexorably alike. Here are set forth Babies arriving clean growing into youth's restless and questioning. Then as grownups they seek and hope they mate oil fish coral seeing fired to prey on our peril I was in Meridian is having like Eunice. The earliest man ages ago had weapons cattle as seen in these cave drawings here and like him the latest man of our day has his tools weapons cattle. The
earliest man struggled through inexpressibly dark chaos of hunger a fear of violence sex a long journey it has been for that early family of man to the one of today which has become a still more produce spectacle in the times to come. As the past. There will be generations taking hold as the loneliness and the genius of struggle has always dwelt in the hearts of pioneers. The question What will the story be. The family of man across the near or far future. So I would reply for the air and yours if you care. And the strange and baffling eye is huge.
There is only one man in the world and his name is just a man. There is only one woman in the world and her name is all women. There is only one child in the world and the child has made us all children. Some of the blood bank with a text from the act chapter 17 verse 26. Has made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth. Scarlet their sons crims in the dark
rising red curves through the night to sing in arrear. Pop spirit had a singing woman's lip ready the blush of true love or of fleeting the flash of a bird wing rear rare. The Cardinals have read the Communist flare talk and read the core man's right sleeve Cross the Red Cross of surgeon nurse ambulance hospital tent and ship
crimson blood streams poured together and together blended into one life and it's mingled in mute communion. This Catholic can flow with Protestant know already influx with negroes. Scoffers Sooners deniers in strength and rest from blood of Christian believers help and quiet to Christian believers from blood of thieves harlots last. To be brother sister scarlet
crimson the human blood bank. And a poem titled This is out of the year nineteen forty one titled Is there any easy road to freedom a relentless man loved France long before she came to she and the eating of bitter dust loving her as my mother and taught as both one of his kith and kin and he spoke passion warning the words rest just rest is not a word to the people.
US rests. Here's a monarch you call her. Close Russian love to Russia long before she came to bear agony. And of our amid rivers of blood loving her as mother and torch as bone of his kith and kin he remembered an all Swedish saying the fire of honor and are at home. Fire the fire of all or not at home. You can fire. A Kentucky born in Illinois and found himself by joining through shadows and prayer. The chief magistrate of the American people pleading in words close to law whispers fellow citizens we cannot escape this
story the fiery trial through which we passed will lead us to die nor dishonor to the latest generation. We shall know or believe save or meanly lose the last best hope of earth. We must just install ourselves. And what is it there are and who are three men or men a dog or a man. Dr Z. He hoped to see them themselves loose and so he just said there are freedoms there are freedom who are supporters
both. Now why have you been too silent. Is there an easy cry of silence. Is there any to freedom. For the past half hour you've been listening to Carl Sandburg. The series is listen America. Directed by John Clayton and produced by Johnny Lee from the University of North Carolina communication center. Irwin director this series is produced on a grant in aid from the National Association of educational broadcasters made possible by the Educational Television and Radio Center on each program of the current series one of the best of our American writers will present his views on the theme of his choice either dramatized or more directly as he chooses. Listen America is recorded in the studios of the department of radio television and motion pictures
on the campus at 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
Carl Sandberg
Producing Organization
University of North Carolina
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program presents Carl Sandburg reading his own writings.
Series Description
A series of 13 programs featuring the works of selected contemporary American authors.
Broadcast Date
Media type
Director: Clayton, John S.
Producer: Ehle, John, 1925-
Producing Organization: University of North Carolina
Speaker: Sandburg, Carl, 1878-1967
Speaker: Kuralt, Charles, 1934-1997
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 56-50-1 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:28:33
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Chicago: “Listen America; Carl Sandberg,” 1956-07-23, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 12, 2024,
MLA: “Listen America; Carl Sandberg.” 1956-07-23. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 12, 2024. <>.
APA: Listen America; Carl Sandberg. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from