Last month, the labor movement lost a champion to the cause.
Studs Terkel, a long-time labor activist, writer, historian, actor and broadcaster died in Chicago. He was 96 years old.
He’s best remembered for his oral histories of common Americans, and for hosting a long-running radio show on WFMT in Chicago.
Many of the stories he wrote were straight forward. They focused on working class families and the struggles they encountered daily.
He received the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction in 1985 for his book, “The Good War.” The book mainly consisted of interviews with people who lived during the important events of America’s involvement in World War II, from Pearl Harbor, to the end of the war with Japan.
I learned about his writing style back in 2005 when I took a class for the project called, “unseenAmerica.”
We adapted his formula to write essays and took black and white photographs about people and places we encounter everyday. The finished product was displayed for gallery exhibit in Syracuse.
Our stories and photographs were recently published into a book called, “WORKING:An Anthology of Writings and Photography”. The essay, “Crunch Time” is my contribution to the book.
These projects, and my labor activism, would not have been possible if it wasn’t for Studs Terkel, a champion for the common man.
“Take it easy, but take it.” — Studs Terkel’s sign-off on every WFMT radio show.