What bitter irony. Studs Terkel, who gave voice to working people throughout his life, passed away yesterday, just days before a potentially historic presidential election. Should Sen. Barack Obama win on Tuesday, his victory would be a sweet vindication for Terkel, whose affinity for America’s workers would be reflected in the policies of an Obama administration.
Terkel, 96, has been renowned for his compilations of oral interviews with famous and mostly not-so-famous Americans. He has talked with thousands of people about their experiences on the job, serving their country in World War II, their perceptions of race and most recently, the challenges of growing old and facing death. One of his most famous books is Working, in which more than 100 Americans share their hopes, dreams and daily struggles on the job.