WFMT Radio Network and the Chicago History Museum are creating an online archive of the fascinating recordings of Studs Terkel. The broadcaster and historian, who is known for works like Hard Times and the Pulitzer-Prize winning The Good War, detailed the lives of ordinary Americans in times like the Great Depression and World War II, and documented the stories of people like Muhammad Ali and Rosa Parks. recently published Terkel’s 1973 conversation with Parks, in which she details her account of the day she refused to leave her seat on a Montgomery public bus in 1955. 

"There actually was no violation of the city ordinance in my arrest, but the fact that I refused to obey the bus driver, who had police power to rearrange seating to have you stand and to prevent the inconvenience of a white passenger, and when I refused to obey him when he asked that I stand up, I want to make it very clear I was not sitting in the white section of … the bus, but the first seat right back where we were supposed to be occupying. But many people did say I had taken the front seat of the bus, but that was sort of a misunderstanding."

“As far back as I can remember myself, I had been very much against being treated a certain way because of race, and for a reason that over which I had no control. We had always been taught that this was America, land of the free and home of the brave, and we were free people, and I felt that it should be… in action rather than something that we hear and talk about.” 

To hear Terkel’s full conversation with Parks, along with education and civil-rights leader Myles Horton, head over to