Oral historian, rabble-rouser and grand old man of the American left, Studs Terkel died Friday at 96. From Robert LaFollette to Barack Obama he never pulled his punches through the chronicling of five generations of American history. Read John Nichols’ appreciation of the life and work of a “true American hero,” Bruce Shapiro’s tribute to the “vigilant optimist” and Dennis Kucinich’s eulogy to the “quintessential American writer” and watch the two videos below for a sense of what we’ve lost.

This study of the colorful Terkel contains footage of the great man from the 1950’s through 2000, when he was 89 years old. Terkel expounds on various topics such as work, art, media, himself, his political views, his family, and his colleagues.

In this short clip Terkel re-affirms that participatory democracy is what this country should be all about.

Go to Studsterkel.org to learn more about this amazing life and what we can all do to maintain Terkel’s enduring legacy.