This is a very brief post, but I wanted to share this very special archive of the entire collection of Studs Turkel’s radio programmes at WFMT in Chicago, from 1952 up until 1998.
Louis ‘Studs’ Turkel, was a writer and historian, but most importantly a broadcaster, using the medium of radio to share the stories of the everyman in America throughout the late-20th Century. His books, ‘The Good War’ (which one a Pulitzer Prize), ‘Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do’ (1974) and ‘Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression’ (1970), were all seminal classics of oral history, influencing generations of oral and social historians. I was reminded of Turkel’s great radio by a recent interview I did with Ken Worpole, who was influenced by Turkel and Tony Parker especially, in his autobiographical oral histories with the people of Hackney as part of the Hackney W.E.A group ‘A Hackney People’s Autobiography’, in the 1970s and 1980s.
There are 1000s of hours of interviews and oral history in this free digital archive, but if you want somewhere to start I would dive into the radio Studs Turkel Produced in 1964, following the Civil Rights movement in Alabama. His interviews with Martin Luther King Jr, but also with everyday men and women involved in the protests, and with white southerners, particularly one taxi driver, giving you a unique picture of the opinions of the times. This is radio with the ability to excite, disgust and surprise, History in the words and voice of the people, as they lived it. I hope you find it as fascinating as I have.