(originally broadcast March 26, 1950)
|[As a chronicler of the African-American experience, Durham did not fail to applaud the historically supportive role played by whites in the struggle against prejudice. Usually, such characters appeared in stories focusing on black central figures, but in a two-part series entitled "The Liberators," Durham treated two of the leading white abolitionists of the decades before emancipation: William Lloyd Garrison and Wendell Phillips. Particularly in the play about Garrison (1805-1879) and his earlier years in Boston as publisher of the influential Liberator newspaper, there is a balance between Durham's understanding of freedom attainable through interracial cooperation and the historic reality of persons Of moral rectitude transcending race to stand alone, sometimes dangerously so, against the passion and prejudice of the ignorant.]|
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: Theme to finish and cut)
ANNOUNCER: There is sometimes a crisis in the history of a nation when great leaders are needed to prick the national conscience and to pioneer a path towards the extension of human freedom. Such a crisis was the ascendency of the slave power in nineteenth-century America. Such leaders were a Massachusetts printer and a Boston lawyer: William Lloyd Garrison and Wendell Phillips. Their relentless and determined fight for the abolition of slavery in their day has made their names revered among the benefactors of mankind. In a two-part series entitled "The Liberators," Destination Freedom today brings you the story of the first of these abolitionists: Lloyd Garrison.
(MUSIC: Punctuate somewhat solemn and hold under)
PHILLIPS: (Is about twenty five) Boston, Massachusetts, Wednesday afternoon, October 21, 1835. 1 was working in my law offices on Church Street. I don't know how long I had sat there—before I heard the bells.
(SOUND: Off in distance, but not too far, the peal of a dozen church-type bells. Keep in as needed.)
PHILLIPS: (Caught. Queerly) But—it seemed almost as though I had been asleep and the bells were awakening me. I looked at the calendar to see what holiday it was—nothing was listed. I threw open the window—
(SOUND: Window goes up. On cue under following, sneak under the sound of a large, milling crowd) Down on another street people were pouring out of their houses and rushing towards Wilks Street like water spilling from a dam. Jumping, leaping, waving, shouting—(stops). I ran downstairs and out into the streets—
(SOUND: Bring up the crowd full. There are mutters and cries and shouts, and they're obviously in a mood for a hanging. In with the crowd) They swept me on like a tide until I found myself in front of a carpenter's shop—where the crowd had stopped.
VOICE I: (Close) Hey! Hey! Look tip there! There he is! There he is! We got him!
VOICE II: Yes we got him! There he is! Hang him! Hang him!
CAST: (They pick up the chant and ad-lib as)
PHILLIPS: (Very close so that all he says is audible) I looked up. On the second floor of the shop they were holding a man—a single man. Four men held him where all the crowd could see, and the man next to me shouted—
VOICE I: (Conviction) That's the traitor! That's him! Throw him down! Throw him down! Hang him!
CAST: (Pick up the "hang him" chant, until)
WOMAN: (Her shrill voice arrests them at/.) No! No! Stop! Stop, don't throw him down! Don't kill him outright like that! Not like that! Tar and feather him first! Tar and feather!
CAST: (They like this even better and ad-lib around the excellent suggestion.)
PHILLIPS: (Terrified at the sight) Someone looped a rope around his chest and slid him down into the waiting hands of the mob—
CAST: (A roar of welcome goes up as they get their hands on him.)
PHILLIPS: (Pick up) Before his feet touched the streets, someone banged him with a bludgeon. Every hand tried to touch him, strike him, tear off a piece of his clothing, and a woman cried—
WOMAN: (With some authority) That's enough—that's enough—take him to the tar and feathers—come on (fade) come on
PHILLIPS: I stood tip-toe and strained to get a glimpse at him. He was a thin, hawk-faced man. He was walking between his captors with a smile on his bleeding lips—a faraway detached look was in his eyes, and his head was held high. I tried to keep up with him, but the pushing and shoving beat me back. I turned to a man in the crowd and asked, (project) Who is that man?
VOICE I: (Surprised at the question) That's the devil! (Spits) That's the Massachusetts madman!
VOICE II: He's a dangerous heretic! An infidel! A traitor!
WOMAN: Just a common criminal! Traitor! That's what he is!
PHILLIPS: (Still wants to know) But—who is he! If he's so dangerous, why didn't I know about him!
WOMAN: (Cut in) Who're you!?
PHILLIPS: I'm Wendell Phillips the lawyer! Who is that man!
VOICE I: Mr. Phillips—that man's William Lloyd Garrison! The abolitionist!
VOICE II: The fanatic! Now you understand!
WOMAN: You understand what we're talking about? (Fade) Abolitionist. A dangerous abolitionist!
(SOUND: They move slowly to background.)
VOICE I: Abolitionist (and repeat).
VOICE II: Abolitionist (and repeat).
(SOUND: Under the above, the crowd has died very gradually until they're gone.)
PHILLIPS: (Awed) Abolitionist? The word echoed in my head. "Beware of the abolitionists." I had heard that a thousand times, but who were the abolitionists—who was Garrison? Why did they hate him? What had he done?
PHILLIPS: Why didn't I know about him?
VOICE I: (Slight echo as though subconscious, slight sneer) Mr. Phillips—you being of the Boston aristocracy—you haven't had time to see the problems the people have—
PHILLIPS: (Insisting) Why should any man be hanged for what he believes? Why—is he my enemy?
VOICE II: (Slight echo) Because he threatens to overthrow the slave system. Look at his record—attorney. You've been asleep. (Fade) You've been asleep.
VOICE II: (Fade)You should have heard him when he first came to Boston.
VOICE III: If you could look at his record—if you had been noticing his record—you would have heard him when he first came—(fade) when he first came—
GARRISON: (On same echo, as though addressing a gathering) Gentlemen, I came to Boston for only one purpose: that is, to establish a newspaper which will champion the cause of liberty for the slaves, and I shall carry out these plans even (to background) if it means every man in this room must become my—
|PHILLIPS: (Close) What the voices said were true. I had been asleep. His record was open. If I had noticed or looked into it, I would have found that as far as Boston was concerned, it began five years ago, October 11, 1830. Two printers had come into Boston to establish a newspaper. One, this same William Lloyd Garrison, was explaining his aims to a small gathering in the home of the liberal Colonel Joseph May, Boston merchant.||enemy. I value your friendship, but I value the freedom of two million Negro slaves even more. If the people in Boston are as interested in freedom as they once were when they sent their sons to Bunker Hill and made this city the cradle of liberty—I believe that Boston may become the center of the (fade up) abolition movement, and, gentlemen, this may the beginning of a new era in American democracy.|
CAST: (When he finishes, there're some few scattered claps and more gab.)
MAY: (Elderly, shrewd) Young man, you'll pardon some of my guests for being skeptical of your chances of bringing about the end of slavery with—(polite) a weekly newspaper.
CAST: (There's some tittering among the guests.)
MAUDELLE: (Aristocracy) And er—isn't it true you've already had some, er—difficulty due to your—er unorthodox views on slavery?
GARRISON: (Polite) Madam—if you're asking if I've ever been jailed for advocating unconditional equality between whites and Negroes in these states—I have. I served a term in Baltimore.
CAST: (Somewhat disconcerted murmurs from the group)
GARRISON: (Well at ease) Mr. Isaac Knapp here—who will be my partner in publishing the new newspaper—has also served time—for the same crime.
CAST: (Increased consternation from the group)
KNAPP: (Not at all dismayed. Forty, but impression of small, wiry, nervous man) Yes, once in Virginia—and once in Maryland—and I believe—
MAY: (Cuts in politely) Er—never mind the details gentlemen. (Sums it up) Boston—I'm sure, will welcome you. But—
MAUDELLE: (Cut in) Er—young man—if you're so sincere in your efforts to eliminate slavery—why didn't you go to Washington to set up this newspaper? Washington—as you know, is the center of the government
CAST: (Murmurs as they agree with the question)
GARRISON: Washington may be the center of the government, but Boston is the center of opinion. And I believe there is more need to preach the gospel of freedom here—than any state where slavery exists.
CAST: (They become cold.)
GARRISON: (Pause) Are there any other questions?
BARON: (Cold) Yes just a word of caution.
MAY: (Coughs) Yes?
BARON: You may have been jailed for advocating such radical changes in the government—in Baltimore—but to speak frankly, there is more prejudice, apathy, and interests who profit from slave holding here in Boston than anywhere in Baltimore. You may have been jailed in Baltimore—but Boston believe me—punishes agitators—much more severely.
CAST: (They all agree.)
MAY: (With a twinkle) Have you thought of that, young man?
GARRISON: (Measured) I have. To bring equality to Negroes in this country, it is true a few white victims must be sacrificed to open the eyes of this nation and show the tyranny of our laws. I expect and am willing to be persecuted—imprisoned and bound for advocating African rights.
CAST: (Uneasy stirring from the party)
GARRISON: (Pursues) And I should deserve to be a slave if I shrunk from that duty--or that danger! (Pause) Are there any other questions?
PHILLIPS: (After dead air pause, low, sotto) There was a chill in the room—for every northerner there with the exception of' the host—owned slaves--or made a profit from the traffic.
MAY: Thanks for coming, young man. Let me show you to the door. (Fade) This way.
PHILLIPS: And the records would show that through the months of October, November, December 1830, in Boston the two printers searched for a place to set up their press, spoke at meetings of Negro freedmen, were turned down by suspicious landlords, until finally they went into a candy shop at number thirty Federal Street on December twenty-ninth.
(SOUND: Door opened. Jingle of store bell. Short footsteps up)
MADAM: (Salesmanlike, gibberish and fast) I just took two hot cakes out of the oven just a minute ago—and here's two gentlemen coming to buy here now—
GARRISON: (Restrains her) Madam—we didn't come for cakes.
MADAM: (Less friendly) What do you want, conversation?
GARRISON: Upstairs you've got some rooms we'd like to rent?
MADAM: Come this way. (Fade) Up these stairways; (ad-lib) now be careful. Watch that broken step.
(SOUND: They all go up some creaking stairways.)
PHILLIPS: And they went up above the bakery shop to a wide and grimy stretch of space.
(SOUND: Door opened)
MADAM: (Has stopped talking and looks at them) Well—is this what you want?
KNAPP: (Looking it over) It's truly an awful looking place, William.
GARRISON: How much does it rent for?
MADAM: Ten shillings a week.
SNAPP: (Shakes head) It's steep.
MADAM: (Insulted) Take it or leave it.
GARRISON: We'll take it.
MADAM: I'll take the rent in advance.
(SOUND: Exchange of coins)
MADAM: (More pleasant) You men know a bargain when you see one. Now, you'll find me a woman who always minds her own business—no one else's—and if there's any secrets you've got, they're safe with me.
GARRISON: We keep no secrets, madam.
MADAM: Then tell me what you intend to use this place for.
GARRISON: We'd rather—wait until we're established before we tell that, ma'm. Some people might object.
MADAM: Uh—I see. Give me your names; I'll have them put downstairs on the doorway
GARRISON: (Catches her) Madam, we'll give you our names—but until we're ready to begin working—we'd rather it not be put on the doorway.
MADAM: In case you receive any mail—you know?
GARRISON: We don't think we'll be getting any mail—for some time, madam. No one knows we're here, yet.
PHILLIPS: But the record shows that already someone knew the names and the addresses of the pair. And the next morning the landlady was terrified at their mail.
MADAM: (Under breath and somewhat panicky) Mr.! Mr.!
(SOUND: Door opened)
GARRISON: What is it?
KNAPP: (Looking over her) She's trembling like a leaf.
MADAM: (Sputters it out) I—I was opening up shop when four men walked in—asked about the new tenants—
GARRISON: Who knows we're here?
MADAM: They told me to give you this noose—and this message.
(MUSIC: Sting and hold)
VOICE: (Filter) The other end of this noose is in the hands of slaveholders. With each word against slavery you print, we shall tighten it. The arms of the slaveholders are strong in North and South. We hold the rope around your neck.
(MUSIC: Punctuate, threatening)
PHILLIPS: The record would show that the rope of slaveholders was long and strong and followed the printers to their third floor garret. But the printers proceeded to set up their press. And that night printer Knapp looked out of the window and came over to his partner.
KNAPP: (Slight fear) William—
GARRISON: (Working) Yes?
KNAPP: Look downstairs. Across the street. A crowd of the slave sellers from the docks looking up this way—(almost breaks) they'll hound us until we stop—
GARRISON: Are you frightened?
KNAPP: (Dubious) I—I don't know.
KNAPP: Sometimes to be an abolitionist—to be the target of ridicule and scorn and threats and always—
GARRISON: We're not the only abolitionists—others will follow when they learn.
KNAPP: (Pause) You're right. We'll go ahead. The type is ready. What name did you say you wanted to give the paper?
GARRISON: (Pause) Looking downstairs at these slaveholders, I can think of only one title.
GARRISON: The Liberator.
GARRISON: (Quiet, begins to work) I'll set up the type.
(SOUND: Clank of type as he picks them out of box)
GARRISON: The compromisers who go along with slavery have a motto: "Our country right or wrong." But we'll have a different motto for The Liberator. It'll be—(slowly as though picking up type) "Our country—is the world—Our countrymen are mankind." Put it on the press.
(MUSIC: Sneak heroic melody)
PHILLIPS: And the record would show that The Liberator first came off the press in Boston, January 1, 1831; printed on borrowed type in a dingy room, with the beds of the editors on the floor beside the press. They lived on bread and milk and fruit cakes from the bakery below. Their editorials spoke.
GARRISON: "Already some Bostonians are asking 'how long will those two fanatical printers keep publishing a four-page sheet which nobody reads?' We shall publish The Liberator until the term ‘slaveholder’ sends as deep a feeling of horror to the hearts of' those who hear it applied to anyone as the terms ‘robber’, ‘pirate’, and ‘murderer!’
PHILLIPS: And the record would show that the press rolled on with its fiery copy while a
timid reader said to the editor—
MILKTOAST: I agree wholeheartedly with the abolition of slavery—but I don't agree with the harsh language you use. If you moderate your tones—you'd convert more to your cause!
PHILLIPS: And The Liberator's answer, February 12, 1831:
GARRISON: "To speak in mild language about atrocious crimes is to commit treason. On the subject of slavery, I do not wish to think or speak or write with moderation. No. Tell a man whose house is on fire to give a moderate alarm; tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hands of the ravisher; tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen; but tell me not to use moderation in a cause like the present. I am in earnest. I will not equivocate. I will not excuse. I will not retreat a single inch—and I will be heard!"
PHILLIPS: And the record would show that even his host read his words and said:
MAY: (Concerned) My friend—try to moderate your indignation and keep very cool. Why—you're all on fire.
GARRISON: (Sadly) Brother May, I have need to be all on fire, for I have mountains of ice to melt all around me. Established institutions are not overthrown by mild pleading. There is not air instance in the history of the world where gradualism and mildness ever brought freedom to anybody. I speak in tones of thunder because those I wish to awaken are in a deep sleep.
CAST: (Mild assent)
PHILLIPS: Through February, March, April, the press thundered on and awakened the powerful shipbuilders and owners who dealt in the slave traffic; they came to the governor of Massachusetts, the record shows, May 12, 1831:
(SOUND: In under, as with a heated delegation)
GOVERNOR: (Chubby fellow, chuckling) Now, now, gentlemen I'm surprised. Letting a little two-by-four publication like this upset you
SHIPPER: This paper has been sent all across the country, even to England. Slaves and poor whites in the South are reading it—
BROKER: This madman Garrison is deliberately trying to incite rebellion!
SHIPPER: And you must find ways to put down rebellion, governor!
CAST: (Ad-lib eagerness around the point)
GOVERNOR: (Chuckling still) Of course, of course, gentlemen. When the time comes, I won't hesitate. But why give this fanatic so much attention? I've had his so-called publication investigated. Why—he hardly prints a thousand copies. And do you know where his main support comes from?
CAST: (They don't know.)
GOVERNOR: From free Negroes who've settled in Boston. They pay for his printing. (Winks) You men see to it that they don't have so many jobs that they can afford to support this Garrison.
CAST: (They agree to this.)
GOVERNOR: Believe me, you have nothing to worry about from The Liberator. (Chuckles) Take my word for it
CAST: (They disperse, ad-libbing in conflict.)
PHILLIPS: Boston's stockholders in the slave estates took the words of the governor—but the record shows that citizens in adjacent states and on plantations were taking the words of The Liberator. And the printer thundered—
(SOUND: Press in under)
GARRISON: "I have relinquished the expectation that slaveholders will ever by moral persuasion consent to emancipate their victims. From the time that Pharaoh and his hosts were drowned in the Red Sea, down to the present day, they have persisted in their evil course until sudden destruction came upon them, or they were compelled to surrender their ill-gotten power in some other manner."
(SOUND: Press out)
PHILLIPS: The paper spoke, and on August 22, 1831, in Southampton County, Virginia, Nat Turner, a slave, gathered a band of' followers—and rose in a revolt that terrified the slave states. News of it shot through Boston like hissing steam.
(SOUND: Street sounds, crowds)
EXTRA: (Calling) Special! Slave revolt in Virginia. Special! Planters blame Boston Abolitionist! Special! Special!
GARRISON: Boy—give me a copy.
EXTRA: Sure, sir. Here—(notices him) Say are you Garrison?
GARRISON: I am.
EXTRA: (Awed) Say—there goes the man who started the rebellion! There goes Garrison!
CAST: (Ad-lib in under "Garrison," "Garrison, that Garrison," etc.)
PHILLIPS: And wherever Garrison went, crowds began to follow, and in the crowd were sympathizers of the slave system, and they hounded the printers off the street, and the record shows that on October 1, 1831, Elijah Hammersby, boat owner and former planter, knocked at the printers' door.
(SOUND: Knock on door. Door opened)
PLANTER: I, Garrison, came here to warn you that the law-abiding citizens of Boston are sick and tired of harboring a maniac who screams for immediate and unconditional freeing of the slaves.
GARRISON: I've been told that before. Slavery is wrong.
PLANTER: (Cut in) Of course it's wrong. That's not the issue. A great portion of the business of the North as well as the South's based on free slave labor. When you attack slavery you're attacking private property—and—
GARRISON: That too I've been told—
PLANTER: This you haven't: No businessmen in the North or slaveholders in the South can afford to sit back and let you succeed in overthrowing slavery—
GARRISON: (Begins) What will you do about it—
PLANTER: We don't intend to allow you to go on; we will put you down—by fair means if possible—by foul if necessary—beginning from this day.
(SOUND: Door slammed)
PHILLIPS: Beginning from that day, the noose with the long rope began to get tighter about the necks of the two printers. But the press rolled on.
(SOUND: In under with sound of press)
PHILLIPS: And converts came in.
CONVERT: (Woman) Give me ten—thirty papers today, Mr. Garrison.
GARRISON: What do you do with them all, Miss Finley?
CONVERT: Oh—I carry them about like little seeds. Whenever I see soil fertile enough, I plant one of your papers. It's surprising how many friends of freedom can grow from just one issue of The Liberator. (Fade) I'll take these out and plant them among the people.
(SOUND: Press down and out)
PHILLIPS: And as the noose tightened, the seeds set off by The Liberator began to sprout—to spread with the wind, to reach southern cities and slave plantations. The records show the governor of Georgia cried out—
(SOUND: Crowd and gavel)
GEORGIA: The Senate and House of Representatives of Georgia have appropriated 5,000 dollars to be paid by the governor to anyone who shall arrest, bring to trial, and prosecute to conviction the editor or publisher of a certain newspaper called The Liberator, published in the town of Boston.
PHILLIPS: November 30, 1831, a retort from South Carolina
SOUTH CAROLINA: (Angry) If the people of Massachusetts permit fanatics to arouse the good peaceful citizens against the noble institution of slavery—we should be justified in invading that territory to silence that paper!
(SOUND: Heavy hammering on door. Keep under.)
PHILLIPS: And on the night of December third, a group of men knocked at the door of one John Lamb, white farmer, of Georgia.
(SOUND: Door opened)
CAST: (Small crowd here)
LAMB: (Notices, creaky voice) Well—good even', Mr. Postman, never expected to see you delivering mail this time of night.
POSTMAN: (Chuckles) I didn't come to deliver mail—John—came to pick up some I brought you before.
LAMB: What's that?
POSTMAN: The Liberator—that abolitionist paper! (Aside) Did you find it, fellows? Just where I thought—what did I tell you.
LAMB: (Alarmed) Now see here!
POSTMAN: You know it's against the law to read Lloyd Garrison's sheet
LAMB: But I didn't mean
POSTMAN: You subscribed to it; don't deny it. Boys, I think you'd better take him out to the crowd. A man with such thoughts in his head's dangerous. Our friends in the North will get Garrison.
PHILLIP: John Lamb was tarred and feathered, and set afire. The next weekend—governors of six slave states, seeing the paper and pamphlets of Garrison mysteriously appearing in their mail boxes, made a proposal—
VIRGINIA: "We propose that the President of the United States demand that Massachusetts extradite Garrison to the South. And the people of the South must offer an adequate reward for any person who will deliver the said Garrison into the hands of the authorities of any state—south of the Potomac—dead or alive."
(MUSIC: Punctuate, stark)
(SOUND: Press rolling)
PHILLIPS: But The Liberator cried back
GARRISON: (Over press) "Know this, those who seek to kidnap me; that we despise your threats as much as we deplore your infatuation; nay, more—know that a hundred men stand ready to fill our place as soon as it is made vacant by violence."
(MUSIC: Punctuate, triumph)
(SOUND: Press up under)
GOVERNOR: (Has just come in) Garrison—will you stop that devilish press!
GARRISON: Did you say something, sir?
GOVERNOR: I said stop that devilish press so you can hear me.
GARRISON: (Calls off) Isaacs—ease her down.
KNAPP: All right, chief (off)
(SOUND: Take press out)
GOVERNOR: Now listen to me! Every state in the South is demanding that I, as governor of Massachusetts, stop your newspapers from going across the state borders. How long do you intend running this sheet?
GARRISON: As long as there's a single slave in these United States, governor—
GOVERNOR: Then indeed there's no help for you.
GARRISON: Did you come here to help me?
GOVERNOR: I came here to tell you that I will no longer be responsible for what steps outraged citizens of this state feel necessary to take—to safeguard their investments.
GARRISON: Is this a threat, governor?
GOVERNOR: (Quiet) It's more than a threat, unless you keep that press still—it's a death sentence. Do you understand it?
GARRISON: Very well. (Calls off) Isaacs?
GARRISON: Start the presses.
(SOUND: Press up and out)
PHILLIPS: It was reported that The Liberator came out again January 5, 1832, and antislavery sentiment had grown deeper. Abolitionists flocked to the printers' garret like pilgrims to a shrine. And at night the agents of slave dealers gathered across the streets—
(SOUND: In under with angry mutters of crowd)
PHILLIPS: ... called for the printers to come out!
VOICE I: Garrison! Show your face at the window! Come out!
(SOUND: Close by, the sound of window broken)
VOICE II: (Still slightly off) There he is at the window! Hit him! Hit him!
CAST: (Spirited ad-libs under and out)
PHILLIPS: All day January 5, 1832, crowds hurled rocks at the garret and defied the printers to come out. (Quiet) And at night a knock came that was to bring them out and keep them out:
(SOUND: Slightly off mike a door is being knocked on.)
KNAPP: (As though rising) Garrison
KNAPP: Garrison—wake up—where's my pistol?
GARRISON: What is it?
KNAPP: The devils have come back for us! Listen!
GARRISON: (Pause) I'll look out the windows—see who's down there....
KNAPP: Keep away from that window!
GARRISON: Shh! Let me see—(fades back and in). There's only a woman down there (fade). I'll go down—let her in.
(SOUND: Walk downstairs. Door opened)
KNAPP: Be careful!
(SOUND: Knocking up closer as though Garrison is approaching)
GARRISON: Who is it?
CONVERT: (Through door) Miss Finley!
(SOUND: Door opened)
GARRISON: Come in!
CONVERT: (Weakly) I've come all the way from South Carolina—I've been distributing your newspaper—wherever I saw the soil was fertile. I come for—more papers—
(SOUND: Body slumps)
GARRISON: Isaacs—help me—help me with her.
KNAPP: (Fade on) Sure—here. Why—she's without shoes.
GARRISON: (Quiet) She's walked five hundred miles, dodging slaveholders and overseers and leaving a newspaper that was outlawed—
KNAPP: She's one of us!
GARRISON: She's more than we are. Isaacs—some of those we've recruited into the fight—have gone ahead of us. It's time we got out and caught up with them.
KNAPP: We print the paper. What else can we do?
GARRISON: The printed word is not the most persuasive way of bringing out the truth. I'm going out to speak to the people.
KNAPP: They'll knock your head off!
GARRISON: Perhaps—but they'll hear me first!
(MUSIC: Punctuate and under, heroic)
PHILLIPS: And it was reported that the printer went out and found meeting halls, and the crowds heard him declare—
(MUSIC: Bump and out)
GARRISON: Every man and woman in America who believes in the cause of equality among all its citizens must join a society that will fight for the extension of human rights. Those willing, meet with me at the African Baptist Church in Belknap Street in Boston. Join together, and the tyrants will tremble!
CAST: (Mingled boos and cheers)
PHILLIPS: That there were those who came to cheer and those who came to jeer. And on the night of January 7, 1832, a fierce wind drove snow, rain, and sleet through the cobbled streets of Boston.
(SOUND: In under with sound of rain and wind)
PHILLIPS: Inside the African Baptist Church, fifteen white and Negro citizens of Boston sat—and Colonel May said—
MAY: I suppose you're disappointed in such a small turnout to organize your society, Mr. Garrison.
CAST: (Disappointed murmurs from the others)
MAY: After two years of work—these are the only abolitionists who would come out to form an antislavery society.
GARRISON: No—I'm not disappointed—I feel gratified. I'm reminded—that Jesus began his crusade—with an even smaller number.
PHILLIPS: And this small group of fifteen drew up a document that read—
MAY: (Clears throat) We the undersigned hold that every person of full age and sane mind has a right to immediate freedom from personal bondage of whatsoever kind, unless imposed by the sentence of the law for the commission of some crime.
PHILLIPS: The document was signed, and the Anti-Slavery Society spread, and the printer was invited to take his fight for freedom to England.
KNAPP: Isn't there enough opposition here without looking for more in England, Garrison? It's not our problem.
GARRISON: Slavery's the problem of every civilized people. If the English will give us moral support, it'll be impossible for the northerners to uphold the slaveholders in the South.
KNAPP: They'll hate you for taking the problem to a foreign country!
GARRISON: If I am able to free one—slave—in doing so, I'll accept their hate. I'll speak in England.
(MUSIC: Bridge "Rule Britannia")
PHILLIPS: In England he organized an antislavery society, and his strong true words won much sympathy.
GARRISON: (Solemn and sad) I came to ask your moral support in fighting for the abolition of slavery because my native land professes to be the land of the free and the asylum of the oppressed but falsifies those professions and shamelessly plays the tyrant. I accuse her of suffering a large portion of her population to be lacerated, starved, and plundered without law and without justification at the will of petty tyrants... (fade down). I accuse her of legalizing on an enormous scale licentiousness, fraud, cruelty, and murder.
PHILLIPS: The words echoed back across the ocean and were picked up by slaveholders and those who had invested heavily in the traffic. Crowds gathered around the newsstands, and speakers picked up the cry.
(SOUND: In under with the murmurs of a street crowd)
VOICE I: You read what that Garrison's telling the Englishmen! Asking for them to come over and interfere with our private affairs! What do you do with a man like that?
VOICE II: Hang him!
VOICE III: He's a traitor! All the abolitionists are traitors! What shall we do with him when he sets foot on these grounds?
CAST: (They chime in "Hang him!" and out)
PHILLIPS: And it is reported that on October 21, 1835, when the abolitionist returned to his home town and entered his print shop—
GARRISON: It's me—Garrison!
(SOUND: Door opened)
KNAPP: What—what are you doing here?
GARRISON: I'm back from England man; aren't you going to welcome me?
KNAPP: Welcome you! Don't you know crowds are going up and down the streets looking for you? Didn't I tell you not to come back—I wrote you—
GARRISON: I got your letter—
KNAPP: Then why didn't you stay?
GARRISON: Because this is my home, and this is my fight! I had an engagement to speak tonight—
KNAPP: Forget that engagement! Get out of town! The only people in that hall are those who hate you most!
GARRISON: Good. Those are the ones who should hear me!
(SOUND: Sneak in crowd)
PHILLIPS: And it was reported in the evening that he went to the crowded hall and edged his way through the crowd, stood upon the platform as brick and stone crashed around him, and called out—
VOICE: Traitor! Traitor! There's the traitor!
CAST: (Ad-lib reaction)
GARRISON: Listen to me! Am I a traitor because of what I said in England? Friends—I speak the truth, painful, humiliating and terrible as it seems to you. It is because of my affection for my country that I do not parley with her crimes. I know that she can neither be truly happy nor prosperous while she continues to manacle and brutalize every sixth child born on her soil—the Negro people.
CAST: (Boos and jeers up and out)
PHILLIPS: (Quicken) And it was reported that the crowd surged upon the stage and drove the printer off and into the street. A carpenter saw him running and reached out to save him:
CARPENTER: (Calls) Here—come inside—come in here! You can trust me—I'm an abolitionist, too.
PHILLIPS: The printer went inside, but the mob followed and caught him as he stood on the second floor of the shop.
(SOUND: In under with the crowd and sustain)
PHILLIPS: Someone looped a rope around his chest and yanked him off the window sill and slid him down into the waiting hands of the mob.
(SOUND: Crowd up)
PHILLIPS: And I asked questions, but the crowd only sneered at me and said—
VOICE: (Echo) That's Garrison! William Lloyd Garrison.
PHILLIPS: What has he done?
VOICE: (Echo) If you could look at his record—you'd see—if you had been noticing his record—you'd understand (fade). You'd understand....
PHILLIPS: I hadn't noticed the record I was to read later, but I noticed a thin, hawk-faced man walking with his head erect in the midst of a mad crowd, and he drew me to him as though he had called my name. The police came and broke through the crowd, snatched him front the ropes. I followed him to jail, asked the officers to let me talk to him. Inside his cell, he looked up at me—
GARRISON: (Weary) Who are you? Why did they let you in?
PHILLIPS: I'm Wendell Phillips—the lawyer.
GARRISON: I've heard of you. You're the son of the ex-mayor of Boston. I don't think you'd be interested in my case.
PHILLIPS: I'm interested in finding out what it takes to become an abolitionist.
GARRISON: You? What converted you? Have you been reading my newspaper?
PHILLIPS: It was not your newspaper that converted me—it was the mob!
GARRISON: Bless you, son.
PHILLIPS: Will you—let me join the abolitionists? Can we be partners?
(MUSIC: In under)
PHILLIPS: I reached down and took his bloody, beaten hands in mine and squeezed them. I did not know what dangers the future would bring tile. I did not care. All I wanted was to join this man in extending freedom in America. Become an abolitionist.
(MUSIC: Up and swell and tab)
ANNOUNCER: You have just heard the first chapter of a two-chapter series on the great abolitionists, William Lloyd Garrison and Wendell Phillips.