[Studs Terkel on sports, part 2]

This is the second half of a 1996 interview Studs Terkel on the golden age of baseball and prominent sports figures of the 1930s.

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

00:14Copy video clip URL The interviewer asks Terkel whether Willie Mays was a “working man’s ballplayer.” Terkel states that many working people respected both Willie Mays and Joe DiMaggio for their skills as baseball players.

00:54Copy video clip URL The interviewer then asks Terkel about the famous boxer Joe Louis and his effect on both white and black America. Terkel responds to this question by giving a little bit of historical context on that moment in time. Terkel then goes on to talk about Louis’ boxing style. “He never wasted a punch. He hit only as much as was needed. You always felt, there’s more where that came from.” Terkel goes on to say that Louis represented America throughout WWII. Terkel also states that Louis was the most honored black being until Martin Luther King Jr. came along. Terkel then reminisces about one of Louis’ greatest fights.

05:26Copy video clip URL The interviewer asks Terkel about the racial climate facing a black man in urban America in 1930. Terkel immediately states, “Well I wouldn’t want to be one [African-American]. It was rotten.” Terkel goes on to talk about Bert Williams, a famous African-American Ziegfeld comic of the time who wore black face.

06:55Copy video clip URL The interviewer asks Terkel about the importance of Jesse Owens to America. Terkel talks very highly of Owens and cites his importance in the 1936 Olympics.  The interviewer also asks Terkel about the head of the Olympic Committee at the time, Avery Brundidge. Terkel refers to him as a “righteous fraud,” fake, and a bigot.

09:10Copy video clip URL Tape ends.

 

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