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Rebirth in Barrows Inlet

The Columbia Workshop

Rebirth in Barrows Inlet

Oct 12 1942

NOTE: This is the uncut script as it was published, with the announcer's broadcast remarks appended.

ANNOUNCER: The Columbia Workshop presents "Rebirth in Barrows Inlet" by Joseph Liss. Tonight we tell the story of an American town. Just what is an American town and what are its roots that people cherish? To learn what they are, Archibald MacLeish set up the Radio Research Division of the Library of Congress with Phil Cohen as its director. Mr. Liss was sent down to South Carolina to write, in radio terms, the story of an American town. This, then, is the story of "Rebirth in Barrows Inlet."


MUSIC. [Relaxed small town and ballad opening theme to background.


This is the story of people who belong; 

People who belong to America, whom America belongs to. 

People in towns tucked in big cities, living on the same block; 

Living in single small places where most of America lives; 

Monks Corner and Lumpkinville, 

Horseshoe Bend and Sylvaniaville, 

Willow Springs and Sugar Hill. 

Never hear of them? Well ... 

Maybe they're not big enough for small talk. 

They're spots on a map. 

Places to turn a plough, to plant a seed. 

Places where people's only deed 

Is to live and hope for living. 

MUSIC. [Organ chord and then a few mixed voices singing a hymn, Rock of Ages.

REVEREND. There wasn't much spirit in that. Should we try it again? 

MUSIC. [The congregation sings again--better.]

REVEREND. Thank you. 

SOUND. [Books closed.

REVEREND. May the Lord bless thee and keep thee, may the Lord shine His countenance upon thee and grant thee peace. Amen . . . 


SOUND. [Shuffle of footsteps--old cars starting up.

MARTHA. That was a nice sermon you preached, father. 

REVEREND. Thanks, Martha. 

MARTHA. It's a pity more didn't come to hear it. 

REVEREND. It's too nice a day for church. Besides I see the folks every day in the week. Guess we both need a rest from each other on Sunday.


NARRATOR. That's the Sunday Service on the spot on the map where people live. How big's the spot? Depends how close you are. Take Barrows Inlet in the low country of Carolina. (Barrows Inlet is the place the preacher practices six days a week and rests on Sunday.) Barrows Inlet, like any other hamlet, is no bigger than the people in it. 

Spread along the saltmarshes and inland over sandy, swirling roads are grey, weathered, clapboard cabins--made majestic by avenues of moss-draped live-oaks--monuments to remind you of more gracious living for some--once upon a time. 

MUSIC. [Gay period dance of eighteenth century.

SOUND. [Ad lib occasionally and lightly the sound of woman's laughter.

WOMAN. Thank you, Governor. You are a gorgeous flatterer. 

MAN. Not at all. You are a queen here. Or should I say the Lady of the Manor? 

WOMAN. I hear that in Charles Town they call our plantation "The Barony." 

MAN. And indeed it is. You have made this wilderness of marshland a field of gold. That's it--you are a queen in the golden rice. 

MUSIC. [Up and down to background.]

NARRATOR. And a hundred years before cotton was King, the Carolina Coast was the gold coast of the nation. Rice--the seed that came from Madagascar--bursting the granaries of Charles Town. Rice--and barons out of a swamp, bartering the labor of black hands for the bright gold of Europe; gold that brought gracious living for some in a kingdom by the sea. 

MUSIC. [Up, then out.

NARRATOR. And just a farmer's mile or more from Barrows Inlet, in the marsh grass of Winyah Bay, Lafayette landed in America "to conquer or perish." Green fought there and Marion fought. And Washington stayed at Alston's plantation when he was President. Tradition in Barrows Inlet? Plenty! Two wars! Both designed for Independence. Ask Willie Williams, ex-slave. He'll tell. 

WILLIE. I 'members it was Sunday mornin' when General Johnson throwed up his hands and say "Done with war!" After freedom my mother wash for family in Beaver Creek. My father went to working on shares. Old Mass' John called 'em and tell 'em, "You free, Asa. You free, Handy. You free, Wash. You can do as you please. You have to fadge for yourself now." 

MUSIC. [Up softly on chorus singing freedom song then to background.

NARRATOR. [Over singing.] "You have to fadge for yourself," says Willie Williams. He's a hundred and one come Christmas. He remembers that it wasn't easy to be free--but it felt good. That's the way most all of us--white and colored--live today in the Inlet. The rice and the gold, did you say? Rice grows badly in a battlefield. And what with a hurricane at harvest thrown in, let it go to weed and Louisiana competition. In place of splendor? People--not exactly "fadgin'" about for themselves--but people together feeling their way along for something new. 

If you think birth pangs are hard, try rebirth--try Barrows Inlet. 

MUSIC. [Up full on chorus then out.

NARRATOR. There's a clean smell here--the smell of people and the sea and the sand; the sweetness of bacon frying, road dust on weeds in the hot sun, the upturned earth, the sweat on the plough handle, the suds on the blue overalls in the iron wash pot Monday morning, like this Monday morning. 

MUSIC. [Up and down.

REVEREND. Here ye are, Martha. I cut ye some kin'lin' fer the stove--enough to boil the wash. 

SOUND. [Drops wood on the floor.

REVEREND. I'm a-ridin' up to Conway. Need somethin'? 

MARTHA. No suh . . . 

REVEREND. 'cept? 

MARTHA. 'cept maybe some meal--run clean outa meal--and a sack o' grits, and ye might buy a roe shad ef ye see George. 

REVEREND. That all? 

MARTHA. That's all . . . 'cept maybe some coffee--the kind is special two pounds fer a quarter. 

REVEREND. Thought ye said ye didn't need nothin'. 

MARTHA. But ef ye goin' ta Conway. When ye reckon to be back? 

REVEREND. 'fore dark, I hope. Gotta see old Lucius at "The Tower." 

MARTHA. Ye'll never git no further ef ye see him first. He jabbers like a jaybird. One of these days his tongue'll git long enough to cut his throat. 

REVEREND. I won't stay that long. Gotta stop by and see Miss Sally. See ef the boys is helpin' roun' the house. Pore chil', she does 'nough work fer a full develop' woman. 

MARTHA. She oughter go back to high school. 

REVEREND. That's the truth. Then I stop by fer my laundry at Selma's and speak a spell with Aunt Sarah. Heared she got the fever agin. 

MARTHA. Yes, an' Rich and Miss Minnie and Zeke who wants to borry money and Addie who's been dyin' this past ten years. Guess ye'll never get to Conway. 

REVEREND. Guess I better not go so fur like Conway. I'll get yer things at the store. Gimme a chanct to see how people I ain't seen fer a week is gettin' on. I'm seventy-nine. Surely I couldn't have much left in me bein' that old. I give them little. It's them as is givin' all the givin' now. Every day I make the visits to the people, I live a new life all over again. A new life every day--it's them that's givin' to me. 

MARTHA. But yer gettin' weak, father. 

REVEREND. No, Marthy, I'm gettin' strong. 

SOUND. [Automobile up and down--segue to: 

MUSIC. [Traveling theme to background.]

NARRATOR. Yes . . . he's getting strong, for people give strength as the Reverend himself gives it to the people of Barrows Inlet. He'd perish without the people and they in turn would be poorer without him. He's their legislature, their physician and their psychologist and--oh yes--he's their preacher, too. And yet unlike a dictator they're not dependent upon him--he only helps them govern themselves. Helps them to help each other through the rebirth. And so Reverend Robinson makes the rounds of the people of Barrows Inlet. It's not "brass ankles" nor "white trash" nor niggahs'--but people. Citizens of a democracy, sure of death and taxes; plowing, mowing, fishing, loving, bearing kids and dying. Deciding their own destiny as far as their purse permits them.

SOUND. [Automobile up: then stops.]

NARRATOR. This is Miss Sally's house. It's really Mrs. Caraway's--that's Sally's mother--but Mrs. Caraway is working in an office in Conway. She brings home the bacon. Sally does the frying. Sally's fifteen and more than "tol'able pretty" (all Southern girls are pretty--except maybe those who have worked too long in the mills--their faces get sort of yellow-white, like cheap paper). Sally was setting the table for lunch for the three boys home from school when Reverend Robinson came by--

TOMMY. [Without taking a breath.] Nice to see ya, Mr. Robinson. Gonna eat with us? Good. 

REVEREND. You get all that mud on yer shoes in the schoolhouse, Tommy? 

TOMMY. Guess it musta rained. 

REVEREND. In the schoolhouse? 

TOMMY. Musta. Know somethin' 'bout that schoolhouse roof? When it leaks outside, it rains inside. 

REVEREND. [Laughing.] You kin lie to a preacher, Tommy, but you wouldn't lie to a frien'--would you? 

SALLY. Didn't you go to school agin? 

TOMMY. Well--er-- 

SALLY. Were you at gran'pa Lucius agin? 

TOMMY. He ast me to come. He's all alone in that big house. He tole me what's a use o' school. He never went to school and look how rich he is and how poor we is. 

REVEREND. He's an old man, Tommy. He ain't got nothin' left to give to the world 'cept his money. 

SALLY. He wouldn't give that. 

REVEREND. You got to give more, Tommy. You're young and you need learnin' to give somethin'. 

TOMMY. Yes, sir. 

REVEREND. Now go bathe yer hands. I'm hungry. 

TOMMY. Me too, sir. 

SOUND. [Tommy runs off.

SALLY. See what I mean, Mr. Robinson? He's always makin' up stories or stayin' absent from school, else he's pickin' up bad notions from grandpa. He's funny--ye'll see him sittin' fer hours on the hull of Mr. Simms' busted boat--the one that was washed up by the hurricane. Tommy jes sits in the ole cabin o' that boat playin' by hisself--then when he comes home at night he tell us all about the wonderful voyages with the old pirate, Cap'n Barrow. He lies awful, Mr. Robinson--but they nice lies--dreamy lies. 

REVEREND. Don't ye start fussin' yerself 'bout Tommy. He's jes' growin' up. I'm takin' ye with me to Conway tomorrow. The High School basketball team is been askin' for ye. All right, boys--all ready? 

AD LIBS. Yes, sir . . . et cetera. 

REVEREND. You say grace, Tommy. 

TOMMY. But . . . sir . . . 

SALLY. Go 'head. Tommy . . . 'fore he don't ask ye agin. 

TOMMY. Golly, me sayin' grace an' a preacher right at the table? Don't 

reckon I know how. 

REVEREND. Try, Tommy. 

TOMMY. We thank you. Lord, for this our daily bread. It's a very nice day today. Thanks for that too. The biscuits smell good--reckon they taste good, too. Nothin' special today but if anything comes up--I'll let you know at suppertime. 

MUSIC. [Up softly then down to background.

NARRATOR. I once asked the Reverend why he took up religion as a profession and in so poor a parish, too. He could have been a successful doctor or a lawyer like Lincoln. The Reverend answered me this way. (And it was the first time I ever heard him use a big word.) "Religious freedom. I came here for religious freedom. My father did too, an' his father before him. They came from Europe to South Car'lina to worship God like they figgered it an' venture a new life on a free soil." 

MUSIC. [Up and down.

SOUND. [Automobile to background.

NARRATOR. The Parson is on his way again with his weekday religion. He never drives over thirty. Places between people are close in Barrows Inlet--and if you go by too fast, the people all seem the same--and they're not. Take Lucius. Lucius is just an even fourscore. 

He's bought up an old ante-bellum house--portico, moss-shadowed gardens, ghosts of crinoline-gowned girlies, dusty murmurings in the eaves--"Yes, Missy," "Honey Chile" and "Massa's in de col', col' groun'." Lucius is trying to beat the "up East" millionaires at their own game. And Lucius remembers. What else has he got to do? 

SOUND. [Low squawking and cackling of chickens in background.

LUCIUS. I was born the day the war between the states broke out and I'll never forget it. 

REVEREND. I was drivin' by. Thought I'd stop in to speak to ye about somethin'. 

LUCIUS. C'mon in . . . c'mon in. Glad ye come. C'mon in the sittin' room. Git--Git. Durn these chickens in the house! [Kicks chickens out of the way--chickens squawk, fleeing his kicks.] Tommy got me a fire goin' there. Got two chairs b'fore the fire. 

SOUND. [Door rattles.

REVEREND. Ain't ye fixed that door yit, Lucius? 

LUCIUS. Caint be fixed. Earthquake in '93 did that. Close that door--never nobody kin open it. Come 'round the other way. 

SOUND. [Footsteps on wood floor--hollow effect for empty house.

LUCIUS. Glad y'come. Parson. Got a letter. I jest writ to a widder lady up Boston. Tell 'er to come on down. Tell 'er, she don't come down, gonna marry me another widder come by th' house ever' mornin'. [Laughs.] 'Course there ain't 'nuther widder--jest givin' her a scare t' get her a move on. Set down, Parson--read ye a pome I writ fer her. Gonna send it soon as I get me a stamp. 

REVEREND. You got plenty money t'buy a bushel o' stamps. 'At's what I come to see ye 'bout, Lucius. 

LUCIUS. Jes' lemme read the pome: 

"Every night I dream of you 

See your face in the sky so blue 

Here 'neath the magnolia an' the moss 

You'll be the mistress an' I'll be the boss." 

REVEREND. Lucius, you happy in this here empty house? 

LUCIUS. [Angrily.] Happy? Happy? What you talkin' 'bout, preacher? 

REVEREND. If you gonna holler, I'm gonna leave right now. You know what I'm a-talking about. I never told any man what to do in my life. I let him figger it out hisself, but you stopped figgerin', Lucius. Take you livin' in this big house--little or no furniture in it--chickens all over that beautiful old stairway--be nicer fer ye if chilluns be on that stairway--house'd be lived in. 

LUCIUS. I'll spend my money any darn way I please. 

REVEREND. You ain't spendin' it. You're throwin' it away--livin' alone like a cross old bear--eatin' out o' cans--findin' eggs in the corners of the sittin' room. Yer grandchillun livin' like they was on relief. Yer daughter workin' when she could be a-lookin' after the young 'uns. 

LUCIUS. Let them make their own money. An' those kids ain't gonna move in here an' splinter up this lovely house. What we comin' to when we always dependin' on others? First this relief--then the government steppin' in ta a man's field an' a-tellin' him what ta plant. And unions. That's the trouble with this country--unions, I tell ye, Jim, it ain't like it usta be. 

REVEREND. No. It ain't. Guess I'll be goin'. 

LUCIUS. Don't worry none 'bout me, preacher--I'll get inta Heaven all right. I got four keys. I don't drink. I don't cuss. Never committed an immoral act in my life. And I'm a good democrat--ain't voted in the last ten years. [Bursts into laughter.

REVEREND. [Quietly.] I think ye'll need more than that, Lucius. 

MUSIC. [Picks up laughter on trumpet: segue to travel theme to background.

NARRATOR. And Lucius lives alone scratching about the big house as his chickens do--revealing scraps of the past. Let him lie--he's too old for rebirth. His house is in the twilight veiled by the moss on a dead oak tree. People pass it by. They're heading for a clearing, they hope. Turn off the paved route. Turn off U.S. 17--turn off with the Reverend but drive in low--where the road's not sandy, it's muddy and brown. Drive up King's Road. Leave behind the town--leave behind the marsh and the mounds of grounds of oyster shells. Up yonder away from the smell of the sea live a new people. They only came to the land a hundred and fifty years ago. Some folks aren't used to them yet, but you'll see them around most of the important spots of Barrows Inlet--or for that matter any place in the South. In a furrow behind a plow and a mule. 

SOUND. [Clod-clod of mule on ground, swish of upturned soil: an occasional crack of whip.

MAN. Git on thar, Julia. Head fo' thet great big grandfather pine tree. Git on. You's dreamin'--you's ain't wukkin'--act like yuh got rumatiz. Git on, Julia--we's gonna make a bornin' place fer 'bacco an' corn an' taters. Git on, you crawny-born black mule. 

NARRATOR. You'll find them huddled close like marshgrass along the beach, digging clams and oysters, seining shrimp, catching crabs to market. 

SOUND. [Swish of water.

ANOTHER MAN. Got a she-crab, Zeke? 

ZEKE. Got a good mess o' she-crab. Orta bring forty cents fer dis bushel. Reckin I'll dig me some oysters. Find me a pearl, mebbe. Onliest way I know ter git rich 'nough fer a '23 Cheverlet [Laughs.] after I pay fer de new baby we's expectin'--me and the missus! 

NARRATOR. And you'll find the women plowing--plowing an old-fashioned ten-pound iron through a field of blue jeans and white cotton shirts ... 

SOUND. [Cradle rocking.

SELMA. Don't take the young 'un long to fall 'sleep. 

ABRAHAM. How long, Selma? 

SELMA. 'Bout so long it take ta iron two o' de Revrent's shirts and singin' song twict. 

SOUND. [Reverend's automobile off.

ABRAHAM. Dat sound like de Revrent's car, Selma. Got his wash ready? 

SELMA. Got it. 

ABRAHAM. I does hope that car ain't gwine broke down here 'fore us door this mornin'. 

SELMA. What give you notion it will? 

ABRAHAM. Dunno. Mine always do. I hate to have somebody car broke down to de very door. 

SOUND. [Auto splash in water, then stop.

ABRAHAM. Hello, you' Revrents. 

REVEREND. Hello, Abraham. 'Lo, Selma. You workin', Abraham? 

ABRAHAM. Not for money, suh. Money think I'm dead. 

REVEREND. Fishin'? 

ABRAHAM. Fishin' fo' bass an' trout all night; oysterin' an' clammin' on ever' low tide. Scratchin' clam on half-tide. An' when it too high to find oyster, haulin' oyster. 

SELMA. Dat's de truth, Revrents, ain't had money-work fo' long time. 

ABRAHAM. No, suh. Not since de relief go way an' I wuk WPA clearin' de parsonage ground. I 'member dat, Revrents. Hadda wuk hard. Wusn't strong 'nough ta wuk 'count o' not eatin' good all winter. 'Member you' wife, God res' her soul ... 

SELMA. Amen! 

ABRAHAM. Bring us coffee an' buscit ta de forest. Give us stren'th ta hold our jobs. Bless her, Revrents . . . sho' do need job now. Ye see, suh . . . 

SELMA. Speak up, Abraham. Take you' pipe out you' mouth when you talkin' ta de Revrents. Handle you' mouth more better. 

REVEREND. I know, Abraham, I know you need a money-job. 

ABRAHAM. Dere's eight mouths ta feed, suh. An' Selma totin' a family now. Ain't much feed in de spring. Ain't much fo' de cattle or de chillun. An' de groun' hungry too. Hungry fo' seed. An' need cash money fo' seed. 

SELMA. An' dat orphan chile come by here las' winter. 

REVEREND. He still with you all, Selma? 

SELMA. Las' night he tell me he so hongry he stummick think hees throat cut. Gotta eat jus' like res'. Can't go school. No clo'es. "Well . . . heah you' laundry, Revrents. Sorry we take you' time. Trouble--trouble--we know you got you' own. 

REVEREND. Abraham ... I think I could help you a little. 

ABRAHAM. Thank ye, Revrents, but I'll find me sumptin'. 

REVEREND. You come to the Parsonage tomorrow eight o'clock. You kin help me clear the grounds again. 

SELMA. Thank ye, Revrents. We wouldn't ax no odds. When we got plenty peas an' corn, I say we beholdin' to nobody. I would say--sister may have; brudder may have. But blessed be the man have his own. Sister say, "Dip in!" Brudder say, "Dip in!" But got your own, dip in twict a day if you wanter.


MUSIC. [Up softly, chorus of voices to background.

NARRATOR, "Got your own, dip in twice a day if you wanter"--John Doe's and Sam Small's primer for democracy, their declaration of independence. Selma and Abraham and Zeke never knew days of splendor so they don't look back. For them in Barrows Inlet rebirth comes a little easier. They always have their eye on tomorrow. Today? Today's a good day to work together, there's only money enough for one mule. They all chipped in for it. 

MUSIC. [Chorus up to full triumphant, then segue to spiritual, up then to background.]

NARRATOR. They're singing now again. They're people who speak in song. People who yearn and work and pray in song. It says much more than the mumbling word. They cry it out: 

MUSIC. [Chorus to crescendo then down behind the Narrator.

"I heard of a city called Heaven 

I started to make it my home 

Where the flowers are blooming forever 

Where the sun don' never go down 

Where the sun don' never go down 

Where the flowers are blooming forever 

Where the sun don' never go down." 

NARRATOR. Theirs is the "Blues," defined as "the poor man's heart disease." Theirs is the spiritual they're singing now in Heaven's Gate Church, set in a clearing in the woods, surrounded by the sky in the scrub-oak on Sandy King Road. 

MUSIC. [Chorus to finish.

NARRATOR. The Reverend of Heaven's Gate preaches to his people the story of their church . . . 

NEGRO REVEREND. In the beginning of Freedom they separate us from whites. Sixty-one the war begun; sixty-four the war was o'er. Reverend Zacharias Duncan wus the man. He the one built Heaven Gate Church. He raise us and taught us in the church. He usta have to steal off in slavery time and have class meeting. Driver come find 'em, whip 'em. But the church go on . . . 


NARRATOR. And further in the woods, the voices of children. A new whitewashed brick building--the new school. The pride of the people up King's Road. The new school to replace the old grey weathered clapboard with rafters washed clean by the rain. The new school and the new voices . . . the history lesson . . . 

TEACHER. Today we will have a Lincoln Program. No, I'm not going to read a paper or make a speech. We're going to have a contest for all the fourth-grade children. Samuel, could you tell me who Abraham Lincoln was? 

SAMUEL. Huh? Er . . . Ab . . . wus 

TEACHER. Quiet, please. No prompting. Now try, Samuel. 

SAMUEL. No, ma'am. I heard of Abraham but I never heard of the name of that feller you say. 

TEACHER. Sarah, do you know? 

SARAH. Onct read a paper 'bout him. 

TEACHER. Tell us. 

SARAH. Abraham Lincoln? He build a log cabin in the woods. 

TEACHER. Good. Put your hands down, children, I'll call on you all. Esther, could you all add to that? 

ESTHER. Yes, suh. Lincoln tend a log cabin school. But two book he study. 


ESTHER. Dat wuz a speller book and a Bible. 

TEACHER. Good. Ezekiel, who do you think Abraham Lincoln was? 

EZEKIEL. He fight and try and at last he was the Captain of the Nunited States. 

TEACHER. Anything else? 

EZEKIEL. Yes, suh. He free de color' people. 

MUSIC. [Up and down.

NARRATOR. The day is about winding up now in Barrows Inlet. The sun is coming in slanty and setting itself back in the woods tuckered out, too weak to burn the mist rising up from the swamps. The school has been swept clean and the blackboard washed. That was Tommy's contribution. Abraham plowed two acres today--one for himself and one for his neighbor in turn for the use of the mule. Zeke's on his way to George Town with three bushels of oysters tied on the bumper. 

SOUND. [Model T put-put.

NARRATOR. He's passing the Reverend now on the way to the store . . . 

SOUND. [Cars stopping.

REVEREND. 'lo Zeke. Have a good day? 

ZEKE. 'Tolable fair. 

REVEREND. Heard that ther's a new baby comin' to your house tonight. 

ZEKE. Yes, suh . . . 

REVEREND. Who's midwife? 

ZEKE. Aunt Belle. 'Spect everything'll turn out fine. Don't you, Revrents? 

REVEREND. You don't sound so sure, Zeke. Anything wrong? 

ZEKE. No, suh. Only I can't be there helpin'. Gotta get the oyster ta market fo' cash. 

REVEREND. Reckon you'd be no help anyway, Zeke. 

ZEKE. No man is, suh. But Aunt Belle awful old fo' midwife. 

REVEREND. I'll get Martha to help, Zeke. Don't you worry. Get on to the market 'fore it closes. Ye'll be needin' that cash. 

ZEKE. Thank you, suh. 

SOUND. [Ford trying unsuccessfully to start up.

REVEREND. [Over.] Need gas? 

ZEKE. No, your Revrents. [Laughing.] I got gas. Just need a new start! 

REVEREND. O.K. I'll give you a push. 

ZEKE. Thanks, Revrents. Do the same for you sometime . . . 

MUSIC. [Up softly to background.

NARRATOR. And "I'll do the same for you sometime" becomes law in Barrows Inlet--the law of necessity and preservation, the food for the plant to be reborn after a long winter. 

MUSIC. [Up stronger: then down.

SOUND. [Reverend's automobile to stop.

NARRATOR. The parson, like most of the people of the Inlet, makes his last daylight stop, the stop at "The Store" in the neck of the woods. 

SOUND. [Footsteps on wooden porch, then open and close screen door.

MAN. 'Lo, Mr. Robinson. How's Martha? 

REVEREND. So-so. How's business? 

MAN. Can't complain. 

REVEREND. I kin understand that . . . prices bein' so high. 

SOUND. [Laughter and talk to background.

NARRATOR. Nothing different about this store and yet it is the most vital spot in the Inlet. The place to stop to get the news of the day at the end of the day; the forum of public opinion holds session here . . . it's the country cousin of the corner drugstore of the town, the smaller edition of the courthouse square where people congregate to talk about the tangible facts: the weather, the crops, the price of shad, the soil, the baptizing, the poll tax . . . 

SOUND. [Up on voices and laughter to background, pick up conversation.

MAN. Don't make a bit o' difference. We give the women votin' power. Do you see them votin'? No. 

ANOTHER MAN. Why that? I'll tell ye . . . they too busy to vote. Ain't that the truth. Reverend? 

REVEREND. Well . . . we all busy. That don't keep us 'way from the polls. But if a man ain't got a dollar at de proper time . . . and that keeps him 'way from the poll, well . . . 

THIRD MAN. It's like I said. My little girl comes from school wid a paper an' this song on it . . . talk 'bout politics in Horry County. You read it, Revrent. 

REVEREND. [Reading.]

"Out in the lobby, a senator said, 

'Let's put a tax--on the woman's head. 

They vote like the men and they want their way 

Just a little poll tax they should pay.'" 

SOUND. [Crowd laugh and ad lib.] Ain't it the truth! . . . Well, I declare . . . Go on, Mr. Robinson . . . 

REVEREND. [Continuing.]

"One day the governor was about to be heard. 

The House and the Senate had been sent word. 

Then a man exclaimed, 'No sir, not now 

Don't put a tax on my milk cow!'" 

CROWD. [Up laughter then fade to conversation to background.

NARRATOR. No . . . the poll tax won't be decided today. Nor will the weather be decided. Decisions are not made at "The Store." Opinions are aired. Voices of the people are heard. Decisions will come--later. They're just feeling their way along together for something new--maybe better. Birth pangs are hard--yes, but rebirth is still harder.  

MUSIC. [Up and down for bridge then under.

NARRATOR. The first dark that's twilight has left. It's night now. The last pipeful is down to the ash. There's no field now, no moss nor sea. No, not even pines. Just quiet mist out of the old rice marsh and sky. The Inlet sleeps--all but one, who's just awakened; the new baby at Zeke's house. 

SOUND. [Baby gasp for breath for split second; then slap; then very 

short cry. Hold for second, then segue to Birth Theme.

MUSIC. [Short struggle then triumphantly to tag.


ANNOUNCER: The Columbia Workshop has presented "Rebirth in Barrows Inlet" by Joseph Liss. The original music was composed and conducted by Charles Paul. Frank Gallop was the Narrator. In the cast were Will Geer, Helen Claire, Anne Elstner, Amanda Randolph, Juan Hernandez, Gwen Davies, Arthur Anderson, Dolores Gillen, G. Swain Gordon, Artel Dixon, and the Delta Rhythm Boys. The director was Earle McGill. This is the Columbia Broadcasting System.