Sonja Williams on Richard Durham

Recently, we had the opportunity to spend an afternoon with Sonja D. Williams, Howard University professor, radio producer, and author of Word Warrior: Richard Durham, Radio, and Freedom.  After a lovely lunch together, she and Tony Macaluso, the STRA Director, sat down and talked about Richard Durham’s innovative work and his connections with Studs Terkel.

Richard and Studs met while working on the WPA Writers’ Project and their friendship and collaboration continued from there.  Richard Durham went on to develop and write the groundbreaking series Destination Freedom and Bird of the Iron Feather (which aired on our sister television station, WTTW Chicago, and one episode of which can be seen here).

In this episode of Destination Freedom, Studs Terkel voices Sammy the Whammy, the ultimate Dodgers fan.

Sonja Williams tells us how the constant theme in Durham’s life was the fight for freedom, justice, and equality.  This fight was never easy, and as she discusses, it required frequent sacrifices from him.  He was truly a Word Warrior, and an inspiration to anyone working to effect social change today.

Durham got to know many of the bright lights in contemporary culture, including Nelson Algren, Muhammad Ali, and Toni Morrison, who also spent some time in Studs’ studio.

Want to learn more about Richard Durham?  His papers are held by the Chicago Public Library, and you can read more about him here and here.

Tags: , , , ,

In Praise of the late Jim Unrath: Studs’ Great Producer

jim-unrath_CROPPED-e1335893182170The Stud Terkel Archive and WFMT Radio lost one of the greats this weekend when Jim Unrath passed away of heart failure at his home in Stockton, California. Tony Macaluso, Archive Director here at The Studs Terkel Archive, wrote a short piece about Jim and his work with Studs, including a few great audio clips.

In recent years, I’ve had the immense pleasure of listening to many of the programs Jim Unrath produced with Studs Terkel. His work as an editor and co-creator is remarkable. It’s complex, witty, profound, full of surprises and charts its own path. His role in expanding the possibilities of radio as an artistic medium is tremendous.

And here’s a marvelous interview with Jim from Transom by Sydney Lewis:
About Born To Live with Jim Unrath

 

And perhaps my favorite, the program “Come in at the Door” based on the writings of Nelson Algren (in two parts):

Consider taking a moment to listen to some of Jim’s remarkable work.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Who wrote the Greatest Ever Chicago Book?

Have you been following the Chicago Reader’s Greatest Ever Chicago Book Tournament?  We have, and you can guess who we’re rooting for!  The last round pitted Nelson Algren’s City on the Make against Mike Royko’s Boss – what would Studs have made of that?  Jerome Ludwig was tasked with this difficult decision, and even considers what he calls “the Studs Terkel factor” in making his final choice.  If you haven’t already, read about what he chose and why.

And then come back to hear Studs and Nelson talk about their beloved city and Algren’s paean to it.

Speaking of love…

And we couldn’t leave out Mike Royko!

Tags: , , ,