(originally broadcast February 20, 1950)
|[In terms of his international focus, this was Durham's most ambitious script. Through the eyes of Ralph Bunche, particularly in his role as a mediator for the United Nations in the years immediately following World War II, Durham demonstrated that anywhere in the world—be it in Palestine, South Africa, or Washington, D.C.—massive social damage occurred when race prejudice was allowed to become state policy. In Bunche"s understanding of history and politics is substantiation for Durham's underlying thesis that the African-American struggle is a paradigm for all those struggling for justice and dignity.]|
ANNOUNCER: Destination Freedom!
(MUSIC: Theme up and under for)
ANNOUNCER: Destination Freedom, dramatizations of the great democratic traditions of the Negro people, is brought to you by station WMAQ as a part of the pageant of history and of America's own DESTINATION FREEDOM!
(MUSIC: Up and finish)
ANNOUNCER: One of the most outstanding individual achievements in the past decade was the successful mediation of the recent war between the new nation of Israel and the Arab states around Palestine. Inheritor of this job was a noted political scientist, Dr. Ralph J. Bunche, director of the United Nation's Trusteeship Division. In a chapter entitled "Peace Mediator" Destination Freedom tells the story of Dr. Bunche.
(MUSIC: Ease in under softly with an Arabic effect.)
(SOUND: Ringing and filter phone off hook)
ANDRE: (French accent) Central Jerusalem airport. Traffic manager speaking.
BUNCHE: (Breathing closely) Listen closely, officer. I'm with the United Nations mediation service.
BUNCHE: (Cut in) I'm Dr. Ralph Bunche, the assistant mediator here for Palestine. Right now I'm trying to catch up with Count Bernadotte. You know him?
ANDRE: (Interested) Yes.
BUNCHE: He'll pass by your airport driving. I can't explain how important it is that I get to him before he reaches his destination, before he goes any further.
ANDRE: (Sputters a bit) Yes, but Dr. Bunche—
BUNCHE: (Cut in) Listen, please. When his car comes by the airport, tell him to wait for me. Don't let him leave before I get there.
ANDRE: But, monsieur—his car—
BUNCHE: (Cut in) His car is a gray Chrysler sedan. You can't miss it. Stop him.
ANDRE: (More insistent) But, monsieur, I call not.
BUNCHE: Why can't you?
ANDRE: That car has already stopped here and passed on.
ANDRE : You're just ten minutes late, monsieur. He took road Q-12 outside Jerusalem.
BUNCHE: Good heavens! Is there anyway I can catch him?
ANDRE: (Slow) He was in a hurry. He didn't say where he was going.
BUNCHE: I know where. I've got to be in that car with him.
ANDRE: Well, I have a gray sedan here, too. Perhaps—
BUNCHE: Please! I'll be there by plane in a few minutes.
ANDRE: Good. I'll wait and drive you myself.
NARRATOR: And far out oil road Q-12 four men waited by a Cyprus tree. And one focused his binoculars on a speck of dust in the distance.
GUN I: (Tight, terse) Is he coming yet?
GUN II: (Peering) All I see is a slight cloud of dust, maybe four miles back.
GUN I: Give me the glasses. (Looks) Uh-hum. It's a car all right.
GUN II: But is it his car? Is it his?
GUN I: I'm not sure. There's another coming too, further back.
GUN II: His is a gray Chrysler sedan.
GUN 1: (Peering) Both look like gray sedans.
GUN II: Maybe his body guard?
GUN I: (Snaps) How can I be sure at this distance? The second's too far back to be a guard. Maybe the first is his.
GUN II: (Unsure) Maybe the second.
ALL GUNS: (Mutter, ad-lib: "How can we tell," etc.)
GUN I: He's bound to be in one. If not the first, we'll wait for the second. Your gun ready?
GUN II: It's ready.
GUN I: Test it, will you?
(SOUND: Long tommy blast at the ground)
GUN I: (Satisfied) All right. That's better. The first car's coming ahead. The second one's seems to be stopping. Next time, test the gun on the car.
NARRATOR: (Quiet) The four men stood under the cypress shade, watched the cloud of dust on the road, and in their gun barrels bullets spent their last quiet moments. But further down the road the second car came on.
(SOUND: Motor in and up)
ANDRE: (Peers) They're up ahead, doctor. We'll catch him in ten minutes.
BUNCHE: Can't you go faster?
ANDRE: I'm doing the best the road'll allow.
(SOUND: Motor coughs. Car slows down to a halt)
BUNCHE: We're stopping. What's the matter?
ANDRE: I—I think I know the trouble, monsieur.
BUNCHE: The count's car's out of sight now.
ANDRE: It's always like this on a sandy road. The carburetor"s clogged. It'll take just ten minutes to clear it, monsieur. Ten minutes and I'll have you sitting in your usual place at the count's side. (Fade) just a few minutes.
NARRATOR: And he took his few minutes and cleared the carburetor, stepped again on the reluctant starter.
(SOUND: Motor sparks into life)
NARRATOR: And moved over the desert road. And this time had no trouble in overtaking the count's car, for it stood still. Dead still.
(SOUND: Motor comes up and stops)
BUNCHE: (Peering) Andre, something's wrong.
ANDRE: (Quiet) Here let me take a look first. (Fade) Stay in the car.
NARRATOR: (Pause) The driver took a long look and came back.
ANDRE: You can go over and see if' you care to.
BUNCHE: (Lower) What's happened?
ANDRE: The count's been killed. The man sitting in the seat you usually occupy is dead too. Ten minutes late—kept you alive. (Sigh) Well, who'll mediate now, monsieur?
(MUSIC: In under)
NARRATOR: He drove slowly back over the ancient road heartsick and weary, and his fight to bring peace to the Holy Land appeared impossible and hopeless. The news shocked the wires of the world, and the United Nations sent a courier to the assistant mediator. The courier found him late that evening out walking in the Jerusalem streets.
(SOUND: Footsteps on cobblestones, up)
OFFICIAL: (Fade on) Dr. Bunche?
BUNCHE: (Stops) Yes?
OFFICIAL: The secretary general wired me to contact you here. BUNCHE: I've been told to expect you.
OFFICIAL: Then you know what my mission is about?
BUNCHE: I've got an idea.
OFFICIAL: (Sympathetic) In all the capitals of the world they're asking "Who'll mediate now?" The United Nations would like to know if you'll step into Count Bernadotte's place. Or at least until a regular commission is appointed. Will you take over what's become the most dangerous job in Asia?
BUNCHE: (Sigh) If I thought I could really do the job
OFFICIAL: Apparently, the council believes you can. For once they decided unanimously on a man.
BUNCHE: Why me?
OFFICIAL: They want—someone who is familiar with the struggles of colonial peoples and of racial minorities and who can be trusted by both sides. Someone whose personal experience fits him for the job of peacemaker.
OFFICIAL: (Sympathetic) We hope you'll think it over. There's not much time. When you have decided, phone me at headquarters. I'll relay the message (pause). You have eight hours to decide.
(MUSIC: In under with a fantasy-like effect)
NARRATOR: He walked on through the Jerusalem streets probing the hidden pockets of his mind. And he thought of a day twenty-eight years back when, as a valedictorian of a Los Angeles high school, he came into a newspaper office and got his instructions from his first boss
ANCHORBY: (Shrewd, practical) Now see here, kid, you're valedictorian of your high school, but that don't mean a thing on newspaper row.
BUNCHE: (Near eighteen) I'm not exactly going to be a newspaperman. Mr. Anchorby.
ANCHORBY: I know. You got some fool notion about studying government and political science. There's about as much chance of a colored kid 'round here doing anything with that as there is for you to—say—discover the biggest scoop of the year.
BUNCHE: I—I've heard you say that before.
ANCHORBY: I'll say it again for your own good. Political science in school's one thing; in the wide world it's another. Now, (brisk) concentrate on bein' a good cub reporter. Go 'round the suburbs and pick up anything your valedictorian soul regards as news—we probably can't use much of it—but you'll be learnin'. In a few years you'll understand more about how the government's really run than all the books in the world can teach you. Now get out and keep your eyes open.
NARRATOR: He remembered how he had gone out and kept his eyes open, and day by day brought in news that never touched the papers—until the night he walked to town and on a quiet road stumbled upon the biggest story of his life.
(SOUND: Fade under with trudging walk on dirt road, whistling "John Brown's Body." A stumble close on)
(MUSIC: Sting and under)
NARRATOR: He remembered how his toe struck something soft on the ground, and he bent low and recognized the town's new grocery man ... then looked up at three men with guns drawn ... recognized their threatening faces ... and with his heart hammering he backed away and walked rapidly on down the road.
(SOUND: Door flung open, footsteps in, sound of typewriters, etc., up under)
BUNCHE: (Breathless) Mr. Anchorby! I—I saw him—
ANCHORBY: (Consults watch) You're way late, kid! Where've you been? Here, take this copy down to composin'. Come on, get the lead outta ya feet.
BUNCHE: I—I'm the only one who knows about it!
ANCHORBY: What are you talking about?
BUNCHE: The murder!
ANCHORBY: (Cut in but more cautious) What?
BUNCHE: It's true. I saw it on my way here. It was Mr.—Mr.—
ANCHORBY: (Cut in) Wait a minute! (Slight fade) Come in the office, boy (Pause). Close the door.
(SOUND: Footsteps to conform to above, door close. General office noise out)
ANCHORBY: (Low) Now wipe the sweat off you and talk plain.
BUNCHE: (More controlled) I was down in the hollow near the suburb. I saw three men standing over Mr. Rose. You know, he was the new man with the grocery store.
ANCHORBY: I know, I know.
BUNCHE: He was dead. The men had guns in their hands.
ANCHORBY: Killed Rose, eh? Did you know the men?
BUNCHE: I'd know 'em anywhere. One was—
ANCHORBY: (Cut in) Then keep your mouth shut!
BUNCHE: But I got to tell you.
ANCHORBY: (Afraid himself) I don't want to hear it! I don't want to know anything about it. It's not my business.
BUNCHE: But it's for the paper!
ANCHORBY: Not for my paper. (Quieter) Some things, boy, you can't mess with. Rose was Jewish. Moved into that restrictive covenant area. Them vigilantes been after him ever since.
BUNCHE: But he was a citizen.
ANCHORBY: "Citizen"—spoken like a schoolboy! So am I, but some citizens around here got more power'n others. If I printed that, they'd bust up my newspaper in no time. Of course, if Mr. Rose hadn't been Jewish—There's sort of a gentlemen's agreement about things like this. Not enough people to protect me if I fought the vigilantes. You keep your mouth shut about their names. You're colored. They'll get you next. An' there's nothin' in your political science that says you can prove a thing.
NARRATOR: He remembered how loud his heart had beat then and how it thundered when he told a police sergeant.
SERGEANT: Murder, huh? Casey, you hear this? Suppose we do a little investigatin'.
NARRATOR: And the investigation had gone on, and somehow there had been enough people to protect him, and when the criminals were caught, he remembered the mayor had asked to see the Bunche boy.
SERGEANT: Er, this is the Bunche kid that turned in those hoodlums, your honor. Says he's not really a newspaperman but wants to study politics at Harvard. I told him it'd be better to study in the first ward, in my precinct, but he's hard-headed.
MAYOR I: Is that right, young man?
BUNCHE: That's right, your honor.
MAYOR I: (Disappointed) I'm disappointed, but I suppose you can use this thousand dollars even there.
BUNCHE: Thousand dollars!
MAYOR I: Yes, the citizens of Los Angeles have collected a thousand dollars for you to further you studies in—er—
SERGEANT: (Of all things) Political science!
MAYOR I: I don't see why you're studying government. You'd make a good—
SERGEANT: Precinct captain, your honor. One of the best. My ward needs one.
NARRATOR: He remembered how he turned down the precinct captain's job and didn't tell the mayor how the newspaper job had made him more certain that he had to learn why there was one rule for the majority and another for the minority. He knew he could make his politics a science even if the mayor didn't believe him, or the Harvard professors who gathered after he had finished the course, to decide whether he should have funds to go further.
COMMITTEE: (Ease in ad-libs in somewhat snappy debate)
PROFESSOR I: Wasting funds on a Negro student to get a doctorate in political science! I recommend that this Ralph Johnson Bunche be dropped from consideration.
OTHERS: (Agree and disagree vociferously with him)
HAIR: Professor, please. This student finished highest in his class. I say simply on his record we've got to consider him for the fellowship.
PROFESSOR I: But a fellowship in a field where he'll get no employment'll only frustrate him.
CHAIR: The city of Los Angeles sent him here to study—
PROFESSOR I: He studied. Now let's send him back to Los Angeles, not all over the world poking his head into this government and that government.
OTHERS: (Agree and disagree)
CHAIR: What good reason will you give for turning him back?
PROFESSOR I: Race.
CHAIR: Come now—
PROFESSOR I: Face it. Our fellowship fund is for practical purposes. We encourage
students to work out their doctorates in subjects that will benefit them. If this Ralph Bunche can be persuaded to study, say physical education, or something more in keeping with his job potentialities, I'll be willing to give him his fellowship.
OTHERS: ("Exactly," "That's exactly what we're talking about," etc.)
CHAIR: (Sigh) Very well, gentlemen, I'll call him in and see if he'll change his mind. I'll report to you later.
NARRATOR: And as he trudged along a silent street in Jerusalem, he remembered how the embarrassed chairman had called him in and explained why he should not make the science of politics his field.
CHAIR: As much as we deplore how the world's constructed today, we're practical dispensers of the fund.
BUNCHE: (Older) What are you trying to say, professor?
CHAIR: (Sighs) The committee thinks your study of government is useless. They hope you'll pick something you can put to better use.
BUNCHE: (Quiet) I see.
CHAIR: Now, if you'll take, say—even sociology, we can do something.
BUNCHE: I think your committee has shown me what I really need to do, professor.
BUNCHE: Whenever a group of men become so bigoted they believe they must limit the fields of education to some men, I am convinced it's my job to study the kinds of government that breed such men and to see if we can change them. Tell the committee I'll study governments even if I don't get the fellowship.
NARRATOR: And the chairman had gone back to his committee and reported his findings.
CHAIR: Gentlemen, I've talked to this Ralph Bunche, and it's my belief that we must give him this fellowship to study government—even if it kills him.
CHAIR: The committee, Mr. Bunche, agrees that they'll make an exception in your case. You've got your fellowship. Study whatever kinds of governments you see fit. Have you decided how you'd like to start?
BUNCHE: (Thoughtfully) I thought I'd like to study in Africa and Asia.
CHAIR: (Tolerant) The seats of world government are in Europe, young man.
BUNCHE: Yes, but those seats are resting squarely on colonies. I'd like to see how they manage to hold those seats.
CHAIR: And how will you go about this?
BUNCHE: By living and working in the colonies for the next five years.
(MUSIC: Slowly creep in under)
BUNCHE: I've gotten a map of Africa, and I've seen how, from its wide northern top to its southern end, the empires of Europe have carved it into pieces. I'll talk to Africans in the Belgian Congo, the British Sudan, French Morocco, Portuguese, Dutch, and Spanish colonies, and I'll try to enroll in the University of Capetown, South Africa.
(MUSIC: Up for bridge and out)
REGISTRAR: (Speculative) Uh-huh. You came all the way from America to study here in Africa?
BUNCHE: On a fellowship.
REGISTRAR: I see. We'd have no objection to your entering if we were sure you were here for—er—peaceful purposes.
BUNCHE: What harm could I do?
REGISTRAR: (Frank, speculative) You could spread dissatisfaction among natives. In fact, our government believes that's why you've come here.
BUNCHE: Are the natives so easily dissatisfied?
REGISTRAR: Natives are always dissatisfied. We'll admit you but suggest you stay away from the native quarters. You might be mistaken for one of them.
NARRATOR: He remembered studying the colonial government that kept eight million people landless, locked in special quarters, barred from the streets and schools, restless and rioting, and he sought them out and talked to their teachers and editors, and went with an editor to his hotel—
CLERK: (Fade on) Yes, Mr. Bunche?
BUNCHE: I'd like air extra room tonight for my guest.
CLERK: Is he a Negro?
BUNCHE: The same as I.
CLERK: I mean, a native?
BUNCHE: He is.
CLERK: The hotels here don't take in native Africans, Mr. Bunche. You'll have to take your friend somewhere else.
NARRATOR: Yes, he remembered that the natives were unfree in their own land. He lived in the tribal camps and got to know chieftains, and learned that people everywhere were determined to have freedom and a control over their destinies. He saw diamond, copper, and coal mines where thousands of Africans worked for a dollar a month, taxed and landless, and understood even better the old urge his own country had once to free itself from the colonial status. He put in five years in the colonies of Indonesia, Malaya, and Burma, and wrote in his thesis—
BUNCHE: "If ever there is to be peace in the world, the vast majority of mankind who produce the raw material out of Asia and Africa must first be freed and given a proper share of the wealth of their labor. They will either become free and independent new nations through blood and strife, as did America, or through the cooperation of peaceful nations."
CHAIR: (Pleased) A very good thesis, Dr. Bunche. It deserves the award you won for it.
BUNCHE: Coming from one who didn't think my study worth anything, I appreciate that.
CHAIR: It wasn't I who thought that. It was a very backward committee. This has brought them forward out of the dark ages. In fact, they've come so far that they want you to remain here at Harvard as an instructor in political science.
(MUSIC: Bridge and under)
NARRATOR: Alone in Jerusalem, wondering whether he should accept the assignment from the United Nations, he remembered the years spent in putting his knowledge before the students who passed through his classes, but he still had wanted to return to his own way of learning his science—by practice. And one day a Swedish scientist had come to him with an offer for a venture.
MYRDAL: Dr. Bunche, I'm Gunnar Myrdal. Sociology is my business. BUNCHE: I've heard of you, Dr. Myrdal.
MYRDAL: Good. Your Carnegie Institute has commissioned me to do a study oil American race relations.
BUNCHE: I've heard of that, too.
MYRDAL: I believe for an outsider to do such a book, he'd need help—your help. I need someone to travel with me. Someone who can be not only a scientist and a guide, but a guinea pig so that I can see clearly the causes and effects of race discrimination. I know your job here is secure, and this will be short. But I think it may be worth it.
NARRATOR: He had thought of its worth as he traveled north, west, and south with the Swedish scientist, and as the African had learned in Africa, so he learned the feeling of being unfree in his native land. And in towns in Texas and Georgia, Indiana and Maine they filled in their report, and they listened in a cafe in Alabama when a frightened waiter explained why he couldn't serve them.
WAITER: (A nice guy, wants to help) I'm sorry, but you two can't sit in the restaurant together. Please leave.
MYRDAL: What do you mean?
WAITER: The state law says it's illegal for whites and Negroes to eat together in the same restaurant. The last two who got brotherly got thirty days. For white and colored to eat together in this state's crime, a natural crime.
NARRATOR: The two left the state where there were penalties against the practice of brotherhood, and when they had covered the country, Dr. Myrdal wrote—
MYRDAL: With the help of Ralph Bunche I've finished my study of American race relations. I've called it "An American Dilemma"—the dilemma is whether Americans are going toward democracy and freedom or backwards to colonial thinking!
(MUSIC: In and under)
NARRATOR: He remembered how he had been proud of the book and then had gone back again to learn more from the people of West and North Africa. But when the war came, he was called into the Office of Strategic Services, and he wondered why.
COMMISSIONER: (Gruff, soldierly) You can stop wondering, doctor. We want you in the Strategic Services for a job that's highly confidential at the present time.
BUNCHE: Can you tell me what it is?
COMMISSIONER: (Laughs) We'll have to. The Allied Army is planning to invade North Africa. (Pause) That doesn't surprise you?
BUNCHE: It does.
COMMISSIONER: Well, to put things plainly, we want you to help plan this North Africa invasion.
BUNCHE: (Smile) You're joking. I don't even know how to handle a rifle.
COMMISSIONER: That's what I told General Eisenhower. But he believes that somehow your knowledge of the peoples of North Africa will help smooth the way for our troops.
BUNCHE: (Slow) I think I see what you mean.
COMMISSIONER: Then you see more than I do. I don't know what the general had in mind, but he told us to let you think it over and to ask you for a recommendation in twenty-four hours. You see, we haven't much time.
NARRATOR: He took the time. He checked his notes, remembered his talks with Africans and the history of native tribes whose thirst for freedom was as keen as his own. Then he returned to the Office of Strategic Services.
BUNCHE: Gentlemen, I'm not a military man.
COMMISSIONER: (Stiff) goes without saying. What do you consider strategically necessary for the success of the invasion?
BUNCHE: I consider that the most necessary thing for the American army to learn, before they invade North Africa—
BUNCHE: is something about the African people. I'd suggest we teach each soldier something of the history and nature of the people whose land he'll be living on. Teach them to overcome as much as possible their prejudices and realize that the culture of Africa and Asia is even older than our own. In this way I think we may be welcomed as liberators and not fought as invaders.
NARRATOR: And the War Department had equipped their men who invaded North Africa with a history of' its people. And when the war was near its end, he remembered how he had been sent to the San Francisco conference to help form the United Nations and to write the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth chapters in the charter on trusteeship. And he had gone on and helped to write the United Nation's charter that declared all nations liable for the human rights of their citizens. And organizations throughout the world addressed their grievances to the United Nations. One to which he belonged, presented a petition—
WHITE: Is Dr. Ralph Bunche here?
LAUGIER: (French, a little impatient) No, but I am Henri Laugier. I am in charge of social affairs. What is it?
WHITE: My name is Walter White. I'm secretary of the NAACP. We understand that it's the aim of the United Nations to guarantee civil rights to all minorities in their respective countries.
LAUGIER: Mais, oui, that's so.
WHITE: And we understand that it's the duty of each country to fulfill these sections of the charter.
LAUGIER: But, of course. The United States itself had petitioned to protect the rights of minitories, say in Greece, Poland, Roumania. What is your business here, monsieur?
WHITE: We're here to petition you to investigate the discrimination practiced against the Negro citizens of the United States. We're putting the case of fourteen million Negroes in the hands of the United Nations.
(MUSIC: Chord and out)
NARRATOR: And he remembered helping to sponsor the Freedom Train and sending it around the nation to encourage the ideals of peace and human rights at home. He remembered he had asked the mayor of a great southern city to let the train come in, but some had other words for the mayor
OTHERS: (Mutters of anger and derision and defiance)
JUGGINS: (Up over) Look here, mayor, they call you "Fair 'n Square."
HUGGINS: (Cut in) That's why we came to you before taking things into our own hands.
OTHERS: (Agree, but vehemently)
MAYOR II: Now wait, one atta time. One atta time. What harm can a li"l ol' train do us, Mr. Juggins? I've talked to this po-li-tical scientist, Ralph Bunche, who advised me to let it in. No harm.
JUGGINS: HARM! Why this here—what they call it?
HUGGINS: (On) "Freedom Train," or something silly like that
JUGGINS: Why the cargo on that train is loaded. Dynamite.
OTHERS: (All agree."It's a shame." "A low down dirty shame")
HUGGINS: (Over and sinister) And you know what they intend to do?
MAYOR II: (Naive) No, what?
JUGGINS: (Advised) They got them "Bill of Rights" in there on exhibition. Did this Ralph Bunche tell you that?
HUGGINS: And they want to let Negro and white folks read 'em together!
JUGGINS: (Aghast) Imagine! Negro and white folks reading the Constitution together!
HUGGINS: That'll overthrow anybody's government. For Negroes and whites to read that there Constitution together in the South is—is unconstitutional!
HUGGINS: (Cut in) Mayor, you gotta stop that Freedom Train!
MAYOR II: (Pleading) But what can I do?
HUGGINS: It's a Trojan horse! That's what it is!
JUGGINS: Derail the devilish thing'
OTHERS: (Chime in. Ad-lib regarding "Defend our city," "Trojan horse," "Get 'em told, mayor")
MAYOR II: (Thinking fast) Er-er-er-(dawn) Gentlemen! Gentlemen! I've got it! OTHERS: (Subdue. "Hush, the mayor's got it," "Quiet")
MAYOR II: (Proud) I'm a fair and square mayor, you know that. I promised Bunche personally I'd do it. Therefore, I say this Freedom Train oughta be allowed to come in.
OTHERS: (Aroused, ad-lib)
MAYOR II: Now wait, wait 'til I finish (pause). I hereby decree that the train can come in, provided it honors our customs. To be fair, we'll let the white folks read the Bill of Rights and the Constitution on Monday, and the cullud folks can come in and read 'em on Tuesday. Anybody caught reading outta place will be put in jail. Now, how do you like that?
HUGGINS: (Admiration) Well, they sure don't call you "Fair 'n Square" for nothin'!
OTHERS: (Ad-lib great satisfaction)
JUGGINS: (Up) Yes, now let that Freedom Train roll in. Let 'er roll. NARRATOR: But he remembered urging—
BUNCHE: That no segregation of any individual or group of any kind on the basis of race or religion be allowed at any exhibition of the Freedom Train held anywhere.
NARRATOR: And the Freedom "Train had rolled on past the Memphis station.
(MUSIC: In under with effect of train rolling and keep under)
NARRATOR: And he recalled his own long freedom road on which his ex-slave grandmother had started him—and the high hurdles and barriers he had found on his way into the State Department and into the United Nations as expert on colonies and assistant to the mediation's chief in the war-wrecked Holy Land. And he thought of the road that had made him miss death by minutes and of the mediator who had died in his place. He summed up what his freedom road had taught him, of' peoples who needed independence and liberty—and he picked up the phone, called United Nations headquarters:
(SOUND: Under above cue, phone off hook)
BUNCHE: (Terse, as in a phone) Dr. Bunche speaking. Relay my message to Secretary Trygve Lie. Tell him I'm willing to stay on in Palestine as mediator in Count Bernadotte's place. My plans? If I can get the nations together around a conference table—believe me, I won't let them leave it—until the shooting stops.
(SOUND: Loud whistle of bomb explosion, battle sounds, machine guns)
NARRATOR: (Over sounds) The shooting went on, and he went inside the fighting zones—talked to leaders on both sides until they agreed to come together
(SOUND: Establish a conference room with plenty of argued ad-libs of controversy. Sustain)
NARRATOR: —across a conference table on the island of Rhodes and to negotiate—
(SOUND: Gentle gavel raps)
BUNCHE: (Quiet over murmurs) Gentlemen, if you please, we're seeking a peaceful settlement. Remember—in the war zones people are being killed. People close and dear to both of you. For the sake of those on the battlefields, let's draw together and stop the bombs from falling.
(SOUND: Whistle as bomb drops and explodes)
NARRATOR: He drew together leaders of the new Jewish nation that had been forged in the furnace of thousands of years of struggle against persecution, a nation populated with survivors of race purges and concentration camps who had built a homeland in an ancient birthplace. And he drew together leaders of the Arab nations, peoples striving to crack their chains of colonial slavery, and yearning to again take their place among the great nations of the world (murmurs in under).
(SOUND: Murmurs become bitter)
NARRATOR: And they talked over the bitter differences in the atmosphere of suspicion day after day and seemed a thousand years apart.
GROUP: (Murmurs up as)
ISRAELI: (Final) Dr. Bunche, I think it's best to end negotiations right here. We can't accept the demands of the Arabs. They're the aggressors.
ARAB: (Rising) It's the Israeli who're the aggressors—we'll never accept their proposal! Negotiations are useless.
GROUP: (More or less agree with ad-libs)
BUNCHE: (Rapping gavel gently) Gentlemen, please! (They stop.) If we can go on—for just another hour. Over this point twelve on which all seem to agree. (As though noticing it) That's the border here between Trans-Jordan and Israel. For just another hour?
MURMURS: (Indecisive murmurs)
NARRATOR: They sat down for another hour—another day, week, month while the mediator went back and forth between the nations, reasoned, put down on paper each point until the bombs stopped falling and all was quiet on the battlefield—and agreement had been reached.
OFFICIALS: (Marvels) We never thought it would happen! Dr. Bunche, your committee's worked wonders. You've helped save the lives of thousands of people. (Smiles) Go home and take a long rest. You've done wonders.
(MUSIC: In under)
NARRATOR: (Quiet) The mediator packed his brief case, dismissed his committee, and flew home, and got off his plane in a New York airport—
(SOUND: Plane motor coming to end as: crowd of people cheering suddenly as though seeing a celebrity)
NARRATOR: —stopped on the stairway as he saw the crowds—asked the purser—
BUNCHE: (Curious) Say—who're they waiting for? Did we have somebody important on the plane?
PURSER: Very important, sir.
PURSER: You—they've come from all over the state to be the first to congratulate you for ending a war by negotiation. The sign there says—"May your tribe increase."
(SOUND: Cheering up and)
NARRATOR: They lifted him on their shoulders and took him home. He found telegrams from all over the world with words of hope and joy, universities sought his instructions—the state of California passed resolutions commending its leading citizen—they suggested him for the Nobel Peace Prize and as ambassador to Russia—and into Washington he came to give his answer to an offer for a new job:
STATE: (Cordial) Glad you came down, Dr. Bunche. You've been thinking over the president's offer that you serve as assistant secretary of state?
BUNCHE: (Thoughtfully) Yes, I've been thinking of it.
STATE: (Smiles) We're anxious to have you. You see, you'll be the first Negro ever to serve in that position in America.
BUNCHE: (Quiet) I'm afraid—I'll have to be the first to turn it down.
STATE: (Surprised) Don't you see any reason to accept?
BUNCHE: (Thoughtful) I suppose I'd have to live here in Washington, wouldn't I?
STATE: (Nods) That's customary. Most officials find it very convenient.
BUNCHE: I'd find it very—inconvenient (pause). I've lived in Washington before. For a Negro, it's nearly unbearable. I've suffered the race discrimination, the segregation, the insult, and oppression in the capital. I wouldn't care to subject my children to it again. For this reason—and also because I think that working to bring new ways of settling wars is my true field—I must reject your offer.
STATE: (Understanding, sympathetically) I see. But Dr. Bunche, what do you expect— "as a Negro"?
BUNCHE: (Begins and build, firm, clear) "As a Negro," I expect and want American society to cease requiring its Negro citizens to run the race of life over a special obstacle course while all other citizens complete on the flat. Draw back the curtain of segregation that we may walk in society with our heads held high in full respect and dignity. As a Negro, I demand special attention to this problem because of its urgency, because every day, every hour that a Negro citizen is deprived of rights and opportunity, that much of his American birthright is irretrievably lost. We asked that race segregation end now—not in the distant future (pause). One cannot enjoy a birthright—posthumously. I'll go back to the United Nations.
(MUSIC: Punctuate and swell up under)
NARRATOR: He went back to work in the United Nations in the trusteeship division, agreed to teach and to devote the remainder of his life to help nations solve their wars by mediation tables—not by battlefields and bombs. He went back to work so hoping that the example he set in Israel would someday become the guide by which mankind could live in perennial peace and move towards the full freedom and dignity of all peoples.
(MUSIC: Swell and finish)
ANNOUNCER: You have just heard Destination Freedom's dramatization of "Peace Mediator," the story of Dr. Ralph Bunche of the United Nations' trusteeship division.