[Rocking the Boat raw: Bughouse Square #2]

This is a continuation of footage from Bughouse Square in August of 1998. Studs Terkel speaks to the crowd about Bughouse Square, specifically its history and what it represents to the people of the city of Chicago.

00:00Copy video clip URL Tape begins with color bars and tone.

00:32Copy video clip URL Cut to a shot of Terkel at Bughouse Square being greeted by a few of his adoring fans while waiting to speak at the event. He seems to be a little preoccupied by something. Terkel’s wife, Ida, is also in attendance. Mike Malloy, radio talk show host on WLS-Chicago at the time, is giving a little introduction for the day’s festivities. Leon Despres, a prominent Chicago activist and alderman, takes the podium after Malloy and says a few words about Bughouse Square. He also presents an award to Kathy Kelly, an American peace activist. Kelly then takes the microphone and tells a very compelling story about her experience being held at gunpoint by an American soldier for trespassing and planting corn on a nuclear missile site. Malloy eventually takes the microphone back and gives Terkel a brief introduction.

11:31Copy video clip URL Terkel makes his way up onto the soapbox and first says a few kind words about Leon Despres and Kathy Kelly. He then quickly changes gears and begins to talk about Bughouse Square and refers to it as a “battle field.” He begins to talk about the fact that the city had just installed a fence around the square and has nothing but negative things to say about it. “Bughouse Square always represented open space. Bughouse Square and Newberry Library always had a symbiotic relationship. This was an open area. Open space means open talk. Free space means free talk. I’ve been told this [fence] is nothing harmful. It’s pretty. You’ve met pretty beings who are obscene within. This is an obscenity on what I call sacred ground.” Terkel then begins to talk about keeping the memory of Bughouse Square alive. He then trails off of the subject a bit and talks about our city amenities being deprived. Terkel then talks about his memories of coming to Newberry Library and Bughouse Square every Friday night in the summer as a teenager. He talks about the many speakers who used to speak at the square and the many different kinds of people who used to attend. He describes his memories like they happened yesterday, really giving the crowd a great picture of what is was like to be at Bughouse Square in 1927. He finally makes his way back to the subject of the new fence and his disdain for it. He closes his speech by very fervently asking those in the crowd to write to the mayor and other city officials about the fence. “Let’s keep punching and keep going, and let’s say the battle has just begun. Nothing is permanent, and this fence is not permanent.”

20:57Copy video clip URL Terkel makes his way off of the soap box and is immediately greeted by an energetic and adoring fan. He takes his seat and is approached by a slew of fans, some wanting autographs and pictures and others simply wanting to shake his hand. Terkel briefly talks with Kathy Kelly as well. In the midst of his devotees desperately trying to share a few words with him, Terkel is approached by Mike Malloy, who thanks Terkel for “just being on the planet.” Right after Malloy says this, Terkel leans into the camera and asks, “Did you get that?” Terkel then takes a number of pictures with his fans, makes an interview appointment, and converses with a couple of friends. At one point, he expresses his concern for his wife, Ida, who had been standing for a long period of time. (Ida was ill at the time.)

29:59Copy video clip URL Tape ends.

 

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