"Unity At Home, Victory Abroad*
"â€¦But even more distracting that summer was the rising tension between the races in New York, which itself reflected a nationwide unrest, garish against the backdrop of world war, as blacks and whites clashed over Jim Crow. On July 1, Fiorello La Guardia, the Mayor of New York, had written to [Langston] Hughes to ask his help in developing a series of radio programs, 'Unity at Home-Victory Abroad,'* (which would show 'what New York is, how it came into its present being, and why there is no reason that the peace and neighborliness that does exist should ever be disturbed.' The Writers' War Board also wrote Hughes in support of the mayor's campaign, seeking programs that would stress unity, 'so that there will be no danger of race riots in New York.' He agreed to help the mayor and the Boardâ€¦"
"â€¦Pressed even harder now by the mayor and the Board for pacifying material, Hughes dutifully sent the authorities some songs and two brief playsâ€”'In the Service of My Country,' inspired by pictures of blacks and whites working in harmony to build the Alaska-Canada highway, and 'Private Jim Crow,' about segregation in the armed forces. The Writers' War Board lauded the former as 'the finest job that has been done on this subject' and promptly broadcast it on September 8  on WNYCâ€¦ "
Source: The Life of Langston Hughes, Vol. 2
by Arnold Rampersad. Oxford University Press, 2002, pgs. 75 & 77.
*The Unity At Home-Victory Abroad
series aired between August 15th and September 11th of 1943. Seven other New York radio stations took part, and we know that WNYC broadcast at least three, (if not more), of the eleven programs. Listen to one here: UNITY.
Poet and activist Amiri Barak
a died yesterday. Listen to his talk at the Overseas Press Club broadcast by WNYC in 1965 at: BARAKA.