[Rocking The Boat: Studs Terkel’s 20th Century sampler]

Documentary on activism and the labor movement.

00:00Copy video clip URL Tape begins with a black screen.

00:12Copy video clip URL Fade into to the title screen.

00:18Copy video clip URL The following footage is a sampler of Terkel speaking about different significant topics that surround our world today. Fade into a shot of Terkel as he talks about the importance of speaking up in our society i.e. “rocking the boat.” “Don’t make waves they say, meaning be quiet [Terkel brings his index finger up to his mouth and makes a “shhh” sound.] Don’t. We’ve got to make waves when something is wrong. You’ve got to rock the boat, otherwise we get nowhere. It’s the boat rockers who led to social security. it’s the boat rockers who led to the eight hour day.” Terkel talks about the tradition of “rocking the boat” in the U.S and states that is an “unending battle.” Terkel also talks about the type of history that interests him.

01:49Copy video clip URL This segment features Terkel discussing his ineptitude for all things technological and how that ironically benefits his interview process. Footage of Terkel working at a typewriter rolls as he speaks of his unfamiliarity with computers.

02:36Copy video clip URL In this segment, Terkel tells an amusing story of a young anti-union couple whom he used to ride the bus with. Terkel uses it to relay his point that Americans are suffering from what he calls a “national Alzheimer’s disease.”

05:37Copy video clip URL Cut to a segment on the Great Depression. Terkel begins by talking about the headline on the cover of Variety Magazine the day the stock market crashed. The headline read, “Wall Street Lays An Egg.” Activist and environmentalist Hazel Wolf talks about her experiences during the Great Depression and cites that it is hard for her to believe that people could look forward to pensions during that time. She talks about social security, unemployment insurance, welfare for children and injured workmen, and how all of those programs are now taken for granted.

07:15Copy video clip URL Prominent labor organizer Victor Reuther talks about his experiences at the Flint sit-down strike at an auto plant in Flint, Michigan.

08:19Copy video clip URL Terkel talks about the positive effects of the New Deal and how WWII brought America out of the Depression. Terkel also talks about the Japanese Internment Camps during the war. Norman Corwin, a prominent American writer, refers to this as an “ethnic cleansing.” Terkel states that it was the “big blemish of the Roosevelt Administration.”

09:26Copy video clip URL Human rights activist Stetson Kennedy talks about his infiltration of the Klu Klux Klan in the late forties and early nineteen fifties.

12:00Copy video clip URL Human rights activist Jessica De La Cruz speaks of the rewards of “boat rocking.”

12:43Copy video clip URL Norman Corwin and Studs Terkel talk about the definition of a “boat rocker.” Both men refer to Jesus Christ as a prime example of a “boat rocker.” Terkel goes into detail about Jesus’ crucifixion. Terkel also briefly talks about Dorothy Day. “As she put it–you know she’s been arrested many times for anti-war activities and other matters–she says, ‘I’m looking toward a world in which it would be easier for people to behave decently.'”

16:52Copy video clip URL Tape ends.



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