Studs Terkel presents a program in honor of the birthday of abolitionist and African American leader Frederick Douglass, including excepts from Terkel's 1964 interview with African-American scholar, author and social historian Lerone Bennett. Terkel reads at length from Douglass' autobiography, "My Bondage and My Freedom," focusing on Douglass' interactions with slave owners Hugh and Sophia Auld.
Content Warning: This conversation includes racially and/or culturally derogatory language and/or negative depictions of Black and Indigenous people of color, women, and LGBTQI+ individuals. Rather than remove this content, we present it in the context of twentieth-century social history to acknowledge and learn from its impact and to inspire awareness and discussion. Muhammad Ali discusses his book "The Greatest: My Own Story," touching on topics including his childhood and family, conversion to Islam, stance on the Vietnam War, and experiences in jail.
Poet Maya Angelou and journalist Tom Wicker discuss life in the U.S. South and how the region’s history has shaped its culture. Topics of discussion include social dynamics and race in the South, the concept of “home” and what it means to return to one’s roots, and religion in the South. Angelou reads excerpts of her poetry, including “Still I Rise” and “Phenomenal Woman,” and shares spiritual songs from her childhood.
Janis Ian discusses her career, life, and her songs. The songs she talks about are "Society's Child", "Janey's Blues", "Honey D'Ya Think", "There Are Times", "Shady Acres", and "Lonely One". Janis Ian also discusses society, race relations, and responsibility. Includes Studs Terkel reading Janis Ian's poem "Poem One". Includes Janis Ian reading her poem.
Cole Porter biographer Robert Kimball talks with Studs about his book "Cole" and his subject's life and work as they listen to classic performances of some of his most beloved songs. They marvel at how Porter perfectly captured the zeitgeist of the times in his lyrics, his lyrical influences, his unique method of outside-in composing lyrics and music simultaneously, Bobby Short's masterful interpretations, controversies over some of his works, and how well his material holds up.
Discussing the book "Manchild in the Promised Land" with Claude Brown. Brown also discusses growing up in Harlem, New York as an African American man. Includes a clip of a man speaking from the county jail. Includes a song sung by Mahalia Jackson. Includes a clip of children singing.
Brick Top discusses her career, her colleagues, and the jazz scene.