The American Riddle

Thursday, November 15, 1951

This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.

Docudrama about a European woman asked to speak to a classroom. When children return home to tell their parents what the woman mentioned in class about European feelings about Americans, both she and the teacher are targeted by townspeople: the European woman and her husband are threatened by the parents and the teacher is at risk of losing her job. At a Board meeting, a debate ensues between the teacher and her supervisors that touches on fear of foreigners and communism and the importance of teaching the younger generation careful thinking about the US and what it stands for. In her defense, the teacher asks her students questions to illustrate their knowledge of the differences between people and places in the US and how those facts illustrate the need for citizens to "think reasonably." In response to the argument that children can't handle ideas as big as this, the teacher responds that only in school can citizens begin to learn these facts: "take away these schools, and in a single generation, there won't be an America."

Concludes with details about American Education Week and the Parent Teachers Association.

Presented by the New York State Teachers Association as part of American Education Week. Transcribed at Radio/Television Center at Syracuse University.

Janet Volton - Edna Allen
Rosella Pace - Terry
Fred Shaver - Roy Iggy
Don Lyon - Written and Produced

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 68920
Municipal archives id: LT269


Roy Iggy, Don Lyon, Rosella Pace and Janet Volton


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About Miscellaneous

Programs ranging from the 1930s to the 1970s covering a variety of cultural and political topics.

From archival broadcasts of sewer plant openings to single surviving episodes of long-defunct series, "Miscellaneous" is a catch-all for the odds and ends transferred as part of the New York Public Radio Archives Department's massive NEH-funded digitization project, launched in 2010.

Buried in this show you will find all sorts of treasures, from the 1937 dedication of the WNYC Greenpoint transmitter to the 1939 lighting of the City Hall Christmas tree and the 1964 reception for Nobel Prize recipient Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

This collection includes some unique “slice-of-life” productions that provide a telling portrait of America from the 1940s through the 1950s, such as public service announcements regarding everything from water conservation to traffic safety and juvenile delinquency and radio dramas such as "The Trouble Makers" and "Hate, Incorporated."



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