In the early 1950s the great Edward R. Murrow encouraged people, both famous and ordinary, to write short essays on their core values, and then to read them on a five minute long CBS radio program called This I Believe. People who contributed their thoughts include Jackie Robinson (the first black player in major league baseball), author James Michener, former Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, social activist Margaret Sanger, composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein and physicist Albert Einstein.
This I Believe was revived on National Public Radio (NPR) from 2005 to 2009, and now it is a feature of Bob Edwards Weekend on Public Radio International (PRI).
Some of the original broadcasts from the 1950s series can be heard here. This I Believe has its own website where you can hear some of the original programs plus some of the more recent ones. It’s worth your time to listen to a few of the essays. They will touch your heart One of the recent essays I’ve enjoyed is “Tell the Children” by Patty Dann.
At the site you can also find a list of books that are made up of the essays. Both print books and audio books are available.
If you are interested in the original Murrow programs, many of them are collected in the book Edward R. Murrow’s This I Believe: Selections from the 1950s Radio Series.
Concerning the content of the programs, Murrow had this to say in part:
“Perhaps we should warn you that there is one thing you won’t read, and that is a pat answer for the problems of life. We don’t pretend to make this a spiritual or psychological patent-medicine chest where one can come and get a pill of wisdom, to be swallowed like an aspirin, to banish the headaches of our times.”
“This reporter’s beliefs are in a state of flux. It would be easier to enumerate the items I do not believe in, than the other way around. And yet in talking to people, in listening to them, I have come to realize that I don’t have a monopoly on the world’s problems. Others have their share, often far bigger than mine. This has helped me to see my own in truer perspective: and in learning how others have faced their problems—this has given me fresh ideas about how to tackle mine.”