Hope Dies Last: Keeping the Faith in Difficult Times
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The renowned oral historian turns his attention to the aspirations of "the American century."
I feel there's gonna be a change, but we're the ones gonna do it, not the government. With us there's a saying, "La esperenza muera ultima. Hope dies last." You can't lose hope. If you lose hope, you lose everything.—Jessie de la Cruz, retired farm worker
Studs Terkel's marvelous oral histories have hitherto dealt with specifics, as he puts it "the visceral stuff — the job, race, age and death." While Terkel's chosen theme here, the incandescence of hope, might at first appear elusive, it is anything but abstract. For Terkel, hope is born of activism, commitment, and the steely determination to resist.
The spirit of activism has ebbed and flooded through Terkel's venerable life. In the Great Depression of the 1930s he recalls a man swinging from a chandelier at the Astor Hotel shouting for "Social Security!" In the 1960s it was African Americans and students who advocated for equal rights and an end to maladventure overseas. And now, in a new century, young and old are joining forces on the streets to say no to war. The spark of activism is igniting the precious idea of a better world once again.
The interviews in Hope Dies Last constitute an alternative history of the "American century," forming a legacy of the indefatigable spirit that Studs has always embodied, and an inheritance for those who, by taking a stand, are making concrete the dreams of today.
Hope Dies Last is Studs Terkel's inspiring new oral history of social action in America. An alternative, more personal history of the American century, Hope Dies Last forms a legacy of the indefatigable spirit that Studs has always embodied, and an inheritance for those who, by taking a stand, are making concrete the dreams of today. For Terkel, these interviews represent a change that has taken place in the last few years of uncertainty in America. From a doctor who teaches his young students compassion, to the now-retired brigadier general who flew the Enola Gay over Hiroshima, these interviews tell us much about the power of the American dream and the force of individuals who hope for a better world. Terkel's subjects express with grace and warmth their secret hopes and dreams, combining to tell an inspiring story of optimism and persistence that resonates with the eloquence of conviction.
eISBN : 9781595585769
Stout wrote a memoir called Bridging the Class Divide, and Other Lessons for Grassroots Organizing, published in 1997 by Beacon Press. 56 The Highlander Folk School in Monteagle, Tennessee, was founded by Myles Horton. Here, black and white labor organizers and civil rights leaders had appeared, as teachers and as students. MLK and Rosa Parks were among them. Septima Clark succeeded Horton as the school’s director. 57 It was John Kenneth Galbraith. 58 “Kilroy was here” was the graffiti
places in the country. 62 Barbara Brandon, a disciple and biographer of Ayn Rand, wrote: “She taught us how to recognize communist propaganda in movies. The Best Years of Our Lives was one of them (Academy Award winner, 1946). She didn’t say it was subversive or anybody should go to jail. She thought the public should recognize what it was. As I remember, the banker decides to give loans to the poor without collateral. That was considered virtuous. That it breaks banks, that was ignored.
of their universe—and they took the trouble to build a big file on me—I have to be important, therefore my beliefs are important. J. Edgar Hoover validated my existence; he validated my beliefs for quite a long time. My beliefs were difficult to describe. Let’s call them dissident left-wing socialism, premature anti-Stalinism, militant and activist, progressive, pro-civil liberties, pro-U.S. Constitution, down-at-the-grassroots work. We thought for sure we were going to end up in jail or in
and it talked about how freedom is a hard-won thing, and it said that every generation has to win it again. In the Justice for Janitors campaign we learned from the lessons of the farmworkers and they learned from the civil rights movement, and the civil rights movement learned from what happened in India with Gandhi. It will probably be beyond my lifetime, but if all we’ve done is to inspire other people to continue with the struggle, that will have been enough. Tom Geoghegan He has the
long as affirmative action is on the defensive, we can’t have progress. Unless you grasp the nettle, you’re stagnating. Every advancement in human rights is tied to affirmative action. Look at things that we take for granted today. The 1965 Voting Rights Act barred literacy tests. It barred the poll tax. That’s affirmative action. You enact laws that prohibit discrimination. That’s affirmative action. The 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibited discrimination in public accommodations. I’m talking about