Joe Hill centenary
March 20, 2015
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There are now scores of events marking the centenary of the judicial murder of IWW songwriter and organizer Joe Hill, including concerts in at least six countries, conferences, museum exhibitions, new recordings of his songs, books, etc. Much of this is chronicled at http://joehill100.com, which includes the full text to all of Joe Hill’s surviving songs (and links to sheet music and performances for most), an extensive calendar of upcoming events which is updated weekly (starting soon are tours of northern Europe and the Joe Hill Roadshow through the midwestern U.S.), and other material.
A Joe Hill Memorial Songbook will be issued in time for May Day celebrations, which also kick off the Joe Hill Roadshow. I’ll be in Chicago May 2 for a ceremony honoring former IWW General Executive Board Chair Frederic S. Lee, who secured the release of the last of Joe Hill’s ashes from federal custody after more than 70 years. We’ll be scattering his ashes at the Haymarket Monument in Waldheim Cemetery. (The day before a representative of Sweden’s largest labor federation will commemorate Joe Hill at Waldheim during the Illinois Labor History Society’s annual observances — demonstrating the power the Haymarket Martyrs and Joe Hill hold over the imaginations and memories even of those who would never have associated with them in life.)
It’s important to remember our struggles — both the victories and the heavy price our fellow workers have paid over the years in our struggle for labor’s emancipation. Without them, we would still be working 12-hour days, six or seven days a week. Some of our fellow workers, where the right to organize has yet to be won, still are…